Problem solving by writing to yourself

Which I hope isn’t deemed to be a sign of insanity as talking to yourself is by some folk. Of course I never do that, do I?
– No you don’t!
Thats good then.
– Thank you…

Ok back to reality.
One of the biggest issues is getting what’s floating about in your Skull out onto something you can look at with your eyes and giving your brain a chance to look at things in “blocks”. Or “Doable” bits.

So what I’ve found to be very very helpful, is to open up a Word or Open Office Document, you can also just use a text editor, of if you prefer a pen and paper that’s fine also, and just start putting those thoughts down. It can be as disjointed as you like.

So I’ll start off with what it is I am trying to achieve and then just start a little conversation with myself just like I would if I was talking to someone else about what it is I am trying to do, what I think needs to be done and what things I Need to find out about.

I’ve recently done this to great effect when I tackled installing Mike Filsaimes Butterfly Marketing Script, templating it, making it do what I wanted it to and hooking it up with SMF Forum so when someone joins through the main site they are auto registered and logged into the Forum.

Then I was going into the “things I wanted it to do” and what you get is basically a Todo List so your head doesn’t have to try and “hold” everything in it. Which frees it up to tackle the “items” you end up with. Then you can mark them as DONE, which also gives you that little kick along because you are achieving these little “goals”. Seeing Real Progress is a great way to motivate you and it helps you get through the “tough times” when it all looks hopeless cause you know you’ll figure it out and get it done.

It’s also related to using Mind Maps, which I’ve spoken of before on here. But they are more a visual representation and don’t really let you “pour out your thoughts as such”. Although they are a great way to get started and a great way to categorize items. As in a Forum, working out the board and topic structure. Those kind of things are very well suited to using Mind Maps to figure out.

When I get really stuck, I’ll just ramble on about how I might tackle the issue at hand. Just doing that really does help the solution, grudgingly emerge from under the rock where it was determined to hide under and say “Ok, I give up!!! This is how it is done”. That’s how it feels sometimes. I love getting those solutions from out of their little hiding places!

And then you have your rough draft of your new “how to” guide!

So whatever it is you are trying to do and while you have a fair idea on what it is and what you need to do to get it done and it’s all just too much. Start writing about it. It is a disguise for a Plan, which some folk baulk at the idea. So make it friendly, and write whats in your head. You can tell I never do that! This latest project – I’m currently over 30 pages of “notes”. All without trying to hard.

And I actually do have a mate I get online with who kind of knows what I’m doing, but how he helps me is by just listening. So I talk and answer my own questions. Only problem then is he as to remember what I’ve just done, when I’m having a brain fade… Plus he’s spending his time watching so I can’t go and distract myself with reading emails etc and we really get into that legendary “zone” where great things happen.

So, write it down as your brain comes up with things. Note down the tasks. Write out any issues and from the murky depths , the answers will arise.

Try it and let me know how you fair with it.


Learning at LOMS
Tim Brownlaw


Posted in What Do I Do Now !