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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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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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