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How to Use Bubble.us to Make 2008 Your Most Productive Year Ever

How to Use Bubble.us to Make 2008 Your Most Productive Year Ever
mindmap of lifehack article thoughts

    Bubbl.us has been featured on Lifehack before as a top web-based tool for 2007. Now that we’re moving into 2008 it’s time to really kick this app into gear and show you ways to use it to make 2008 your most productive year.

    A little background on Bubbl.us

    bubbl.us is a flash-based mindmap creator, which enables you to create interactive mindmaps, which can be shared and added to. It is a free tool, which is fantastic as it is one of the tools that has been great for me towards the end of this year. The mindmaps can be exported, like the one above, and can be as small or as large as you want them to be.

    The above example shows a quick brainstorming session for articles to write on Lifehack. Whilst jotting down a few ideas in their various categories, I decided to write on the tool itself as I had found it so useful for so many other things in my life.

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    5 ways to use Bubbl.us to explode your productivity

    1. Brainstorming ideas for business

    Brainstorming is a process whereby one or more people come up with and record as many ideas as spring into their minds, whether they are ridiculous or brilliant. Every new idea can lead to another idea, which can eventually lead to the winning idea for your business.

    The process of using Bubbl.us to brainstorm is quite simple. You designate someone who is familiar with Bubbl.us (and it only takes 5 minutes to get familiar with it) to enter in all of the ideas that they and everyone else comes up with. Once each session is complete, the session can be saved for future use, it can be printed out, and it can be saved as a jpeg or PNG or exported for use in a website or as an XML sheet.

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    1. Use for family tree building

    With the ability to create multiple ‘parent’ boxes and ‘child’ boxes, Bubbl.us is a fantastic tool for creating family trees quickly and easily. What would be good is if it could insert images into the child and parent boxes; however, it is still a good tool for this activity. So for the genealogists out there, you could start collecting your family data from anywhere in the world and add to your family tree map from anywhere in the world — and nvite other family members, wherever they are, do the same.

    1. Creating flow charts

    This is another extremely useful way to use Bubbl.us. You have seen flow charts in technical books and software manuals, and they are great visual representations for training employees to use software, follow business processes, or anywhere a yes/no situation might occur. And when processes or policies change, they can be esily updated from any computer.

    1. For creating lists

    I used Bubbl.us to create my Christmas list this year and it was a great way to visualize the list. I usually do this on a piece of paper which is then thrown away only to be done again the next year. Using Bubble.us this way means I always have a saved copy of my Christmas list and I never forget anyone. Plus, I can easily add more people whenever I need.

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    The same goes for birthday card lists. Again this is something that rarely changes; now I have my birthday card list with one box for each month, and around each all the people we need to send cards to each month.

    I have also created lists for shopping, which I can use repeatedly as we tend to buy the same things every month.

    1. Money making ideas

    I am always on the lookout for new ways to make money (legally, of course) but I find that ideas pop into my head at the most awkward times. Now, whenever I have one of these ideas I write it down in the notebook I carry around and transfer it as quickly as possible to my Bubbl.us account.

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    when I look at the Bubbl.us account under the ‘money making ideas’ file I brainstorm how I could make money from any particular idea. Then I either reject it and delete or keep it saved on the file.

    This has helped me tremendously in my online money making activities as I have carried out a lot of research after brainstorming and this allows me to reject or keep an idea.

    It also helps my conscious mind to stop rejecting ideas immediately, which tends to happen with many people. You know what I mean: you think you have a great idea and you say ‘yeah that could work’ and get all excited and then 2 minutes later your conscious mind rejects it and you forget all about it. Now every idea is a viable option and your conscious mind has been bypassed, to a degree, allowing your unconscious mind to work on the idea.

    What other uses can you think of?

    If you haven’t already done so why not visit Bubbl.us and let us know other ways you could use this versatile web app.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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