Build a House without a Blueprint?

 Build a House without a Blueprint? 

In business, trying to achieve something without a good plan is as futile as trying to build a house without a blueprint.

One of the best planning tools available—one that is preferred by successful managers and entrepreneurs alike—is the planning map. It's perfect for a specific project or to organize, prioritize, and manage the many tasks you have on your plate.

How to Create a Planning Map

This tool allows you to quickly set out your plan with an interactive outline.  

From this starting point you'll be able to add subtasks, notes, and even hyperlinks to files or webpages. You may also assign tasks to other people on your team and create timelines for completion, if you wish.

Step 1: Identify your high-level priorities.

Start by identifying all of the major projects or activities you need to accomplish within a given timeframe. We'll map out a weekly plan for this example.


It may be difficult to estimate the length of complex task categories like these. Especially if they are dependent on other people completing portions of them. It's much easier to accurately estimate the length of smaller, simpler subtasks that comprise the major activity categories.

Step 2: Break the complex tasks into simpler tasks.

Simply expand your planning map to include all the sub-tasks for each category.

Notice how easy this is to read. It's clear to anyone, without special training of any kind, how the tasks flow outwardly from the center of the planning map. More importantly, creating this diagram is as easy as opening the template and adding items with a single mouse click. If you prefer, you can use keyboard shortcuts that make the process even easier. No drawing is required to create a diagram like this using SmartDraw, and all of the formatting is done for you automatically, so you can focus on your content - without worrying about format.

Step 3 (optional): Convert the planning map into a project chart.

With SmartDraw you can convert your mind map to a project chart automatically with a single mouse click. You can also toggle between mind map and project chart views for easy editing - the View box shows the icons that allow you to switch views instantly.

When you switch views as shown below, you'll note that SmartDraw has taken your mind map above and created a project chart. Note how the tasks from the mind map are given numerical values in the first column, and the subtasks in the second column are indented under each major category for ease in reading. Again, this is done for you automatically.

Our project chart is now complete and looks like this:

Just fill in names of people assigned to tasks, add completion dates, and your planning map has now become a fully functioning project plan.