Melissa’s Planning Series: Part 1 – Spider Diagrams

This is the first blog in a new three-part series on Planning.

Prioritising and planning go hand-in-hand but they are not one and the same.  Planning encourages you to think about all the tasks you need to complete.  Prioritising encourages you to focus on the most important tasks first.

Whilst both are essential, planning helps you make judgements.  Forward planning releases time from your day. By knowing what you are doing, and when, means you also know when you have time to rest/ fill the dishwasher/ listen to a podcast / play with your kids. ⁠

One of my favourite tools for planning is the Spider Diagram. Why?

  • They are great for getting ideas out of my head
  • They are quick and easy to create (meaning I can make multiple diagrams for different projects)
  • They give me a visual overview of all the projects and tasks I am working on
  • They give me clarity

There’s also a scientific reason why spider diagrams are such an effective tool for planning (and why we are all so familiar with them from our school days) – they mimic the way our brains are structured with lots of ideas shooting off in all directions.

Part of the beauty of a spider diagram is its simplicity – you just need a piece of paper and a pen (or you can use a fancy software programme but I really don’t think that’s always necessary). There are no set rules about how you should structure your spider diagram and you can use different colour pens to highlight which tasks are more important.

The key to a successful planning spider diagram is that it will walk you through all the smaller tasks involved.  By breaking each task right down to the constituent activities you will:

a) have a greater idea of how much is involved and how long the task will take and

b) be able to complete larger tasks in smaller manageable stages.

Here’s how to create your spider diagram:

  • Start with writing down your main concept / job / task in the middle of the page (this might be a project you are working on, or a holiday, activity with your kids – any task or project that is occupying your mind)
  • Then break that main task down into smaller, bite sized tasks (sub-tasks) , connecting the ideas as you go.
  • With your main tasks and sub-tasks mapped out you can start populating the diagram with further small tasks, connecting and adding as you-go.
For example:

If you were planning your ‘Instagram marketing’ you could break this down into:

‘post performance analysis’, ‘content planning’, ‘image design’, ‘copywriting’, ‘hashtag analysis’

From here each of those subtasks could be broken down to smaller more precise tasks. 

For example, ‘content planning’ could be broken down to your content pillars (e.g. inspirational quotes, educational posts, product image), and then further down into individual post ideas (e.g. ‘the actual quote itself’)

A final note….

Don’t stop at just one diagram, you can create different diagrams for different areas of your life!

Stay tuned for next-weeks’ blog post which will showcase another useful weapon to keep in your planning arsenal.

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