Organizing Your Visual Thinking Space

Before you organize your visual thinking environment be sure to decide on a thinking space and likewise identify all the necessary visual thinking creation tools you will need to create the perfect visual thinking environment.

Having accomplished this step, let’s now find a place for everything, and put everything in its place.

Creative People are Messy and Disorganized?

In January 2006, Cleveland-based PsyMax Solutions studied the work styles of hundreds of CEO’s and other top executives. What they found was absolutely shocking. In fact, this discovery rocked the foundations of corporate America. 😉

These researchers discovered that the CEO’s and top Executives were considerably less organized, however far more creative than individuals in other professions. Learn more.

Given the fact that visual thinking is a creative pursuit, does this mean that you should strive to keep your thinking space messy and cluttered? Well… yes and no.

You should strive to keep your thinking space organized, however when you’re in the midst of a creative breakthrough, it’s perfectly okay to completely mess up your thinking space and simply allow your creativity to flow. In such instances, use all the visual thinking tools you have at your disposal to express yourself in as many ways as required to help solve your problem.

It’s therefore perfectly okay to be messy, just as-long-as at the end of your visual thinking expedition, you have a place for everything, and put everything in its place. This will help you save time and will likewise boost your levels of productivity. In fact having an organized space:

  • Saves you time looking for stuff.
  • Saves you time when working and thinking.
  • Saves you time cleaning.
  • Saves you time making decisions.

In addition to the time saving benefits, an organized space also provides you with the following advantages:

Build Your Visual Thinking Environment

In the months and years ahead I will showcase plenty of visual thinking techniques and strategies on this blog. These techniques will help you to think more creatively and solve problems more effectively. However, in order to become a highly productive visual thinker you will need to take into consideration your thinking environment. This is the place you will be spending most of your time thinking and solving your problems visually. Let’s call this your Thinking Space.

The purpose of this article is to help you optimize your Thinking Space; to help you raise your levels of productivity and create an environment that naturally supports your ability to think creatively and visually.

Before we move on, let’s take a look at your current home or office work environment. Ask yourself:

  • Is my thinking space clean and uncluttered?
  • Does my thinking space excite and inspire me?
  • Does it provide me access to the tools I need to think visually?
  • Does this thinking space encourage me to think visually?
  • Does it make me feel happy and productive?
  • Is everything I need easily within my reach?
  • Is the thinking space clear of visual and auditory distractions?
  • What can I do to make my thinking space a more enjoyable and productive place to spend my time?

Keep in mind that your thinking space isn’t just your desk, it’s a place you work, think, visualize and create. It could be a room, a study, a section of a bedroom or living room, it could be a cafe, a library or another place that allows you to work and think visually. Above-all-else it must be a place where you switch-off from everything else, and tune in to your creative visual problem solving ability.

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Visual Thinking: The Path to Genius?

Over the course of human history great minds of every age have made a mark on this world — transforming how we think, live and behave. However, what was it that separated them from everyone else? Did it come down to a set of indispensable qualities that they possessed? Or was it a set of habits and behaviors that they cultivated on a daily basis? Or maybe it simply came down to their levels of intelligence?

The answer could very well come down to a combination of factors. However, I would like to argue that they all had one common element in mind: their ability to think creatively and visually about the circumstances confronting their lives.

The Link Between Genius and Intelligence

Albert Einstein, Leonardo daVinci, Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei, Sigmund Freud and Mozart are all considered geniuses in their own right. They accomplished incredible things that most people only dream about and struggle to even comprehend.

What was it that separated these geniuses from everyone else? It certainly wasn’t intelligence.

Academics throughout history have tried to measure the supposed link between intelligence and genius. And as yet, no link has ever been found. In fact, Richard Feynman, an American Physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics, had a respectable IQ of only 122. This paled in comparison to the highest IQ ever measured of 228 on Marilyn vos Savant who is an American magazine columnist, author, lecturer and playwright.

It was of course once thought that high levels of intelligence predicted one’s capacity for creative thought. However, today, this is not the case. In fact, an individual can be considered to be far more creative than intelligent, and vice-versa.

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Getting the Stuff Out of Your Head!

Have you ever experienced overwhelm? You know, it’s that feeling when you have too much to do, with too little time on your hands, and you simply don’t know where or how to begin. Yes, I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.

Just for a moment, I want you to think back to a time when you felt absolutely overwhelmed, and ask yourself:

  • What was it about that situation that overwhelmed me?
  • How did I deal with the circumstances at the time?
  • Did I successfully manage to overcome my feelings of overwhelm or not?

What you will often find, is that you managed to overcome your feelings of overwhelm because you did one or more of the following things:

How about a time when you were dealing with a difficult problem? How did you overcome it? What techniques did you use?

No matter what technique you might have used to deal with your problem or to eliminate the feelings of overwhelm, would I be wrong to assume that you were most effective when you took things out of your head and clarified them visually on paper, on a whiteboard, or on the computer?

If the answer is YES, then that is in essence where the power of visual thinking lies.

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Visual Thinking Perspectives

When it comes to visual thinking or any other type of communication medium, it’s easy to take for granted the importance that perspectives have on our interpretation of the information we are trying to convey. Each perspective interprets the situation from a slightly different angle, and this therefore leads to a variety of conclusions and understandings.

Before we explore how perspectives can be applied to visual thinking and problem solving, let’s first take a trip into the past down memory lane.

English 101

Back at school when we first came across the idea of perspectives, we learned that if a person is speaking or writing in the first person, that he or she is talking about himself or herself.

  • I like to dance.
  • I enjoy dancing.
  • I have fun dancing.

This type of perspective is often used in formal writing.

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