A lesson shared…


Once tasked with our first main assignment we were advised to write out a mind map before progressing further.  This wasn’t something I was familiar with.

So, I didn’t.  Why?  

Never mind that this was my going into university level education for the first time and that this was my first ever essay.  Never mind the fact that I had just been advised to.  I just needed to sit in front of a computer and start typing.

Didn’t I?

I started my first draft.  After days of work I fully reviewed my essay.  I wasn’t happy.  I deleted every word and commenced a subsequent draft.  After several more days I was content to submit this as a first draft.  I received it back, and looked at all of the comments.  There were major issues with the order and the whole structure needed to be changed for it to flow correctly.

Around one week later I finally had something I was happy to put my name to as my first essay.  With a small amount of polishing this was submitted.

Thought-wise I had been all over the place, wasted time and most importantly learnt an important lesson about the importance of mapping out thoughts correctly before starting a piece of work.

I wasn’t going to make this mistake again.  Come the second module and the main assignment (a report this time) I grabbed a pile of post-it notes and started writing thoughts down.

Next, I taped together three sheets of A3 paper and, with the central subject matter in the middle, started working out which post-it notes should go where in order to provide starting points.  I then worked out how they were linked with one another and so on and so forth.

Once completed it was great having it there in front of me knowing that with adequate research, I would have a comprehensive report that would provide a good executive summary, introduction and overview, investigate the correct areas, assess the available information and provide suitable recommendations and supporting appendices, all flowing as one piece of work.

Even though I hadn’t put fingers to keyboard it felt like my report was already half way to completion.  What followed was a piece of work that had few differences from the first draft to the final copy. I was really proud of it.  It all had its origins in that mind map!