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Personal Updates Archives - Exploring Patterns

Reading with a Plan

There is a great article on the XMind blog about how to create and execute a reading plan for a year.  I believe this article provides a structure that can help one get through some good books, make some notes and focus on what is important.

To learn more, check out the article.

Mind maps, a power tool to help you see the big picture with all the details.



Exploring Great Ways to Connect

I am always on the search to test out new ways to collaborate online and update my current list of favorite collaboration tools.  Here are some latest finds that you may find interesting.


One of the tools I look forward to testing in the coming weeks is Voxeet.  You can find it online at .  This is a great tool for dialogue connecting with people from all around the world.


One of my favorite tools for making notes, sharing ideas, building project etc is Mindjet 2016.  You can find it online at  It allows you to build process maps, concept maps, great mindmaps and project plans.  You can try out the trial version.  It is well worth the purchase.

This is a great tool for team collaboration.  If you are working on a complex project, sitting on a Board of Directors or just wanting a tool to support working with your “inner circle of friends” give this tool a try.  The free version is extremely powerful and helpful.  To learn more about slack, visit

Appear IN

I first learned about this collaboration tool from Dotto Tech.  This website is super simple to use for connecting with up to eight people at a time.  The nice part is all you have to do is sent the other people a link.  With one click, they are in the room ready for a great conversation.  Great tool to support coaching and mentoring work.   Learn more at


Collaboration online is a great opportunity to meet new people, create new ideas or building new opportunities to make a difference.  I’ll continue to keep you posted as I update and refine my work with online collaboration tools.




Getting Organized for 2014

As we move into 2014, here are five suggestions that you may find helpful to make your plans a reality.

Suggestion 1 – Learn How to use Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook has a wealth of tools to make planning and managing activities easy. The key is to learn the software. You can check out some great tutorials on YouTube or take a class from a training. The key is to learn the software. Learn how to:

  1. Create tasks
  2. Assign tasks to others and track the report backs
  3. Create a daily list of ToDo
  4. Keep up with key projects in one place
  5. Build a Weekly Calendar that works
  6. Build a quarterly report card on how your goals are working

Having a good tool to help organize your work can be the first step to a great year.

Suggestion 2 – Be Honest with Yourself

Take time to be honest with yourself. Sit down with some paper and a pen and explore the following questions:

  1. What do you really like doing?
  2. What must you do?
  3. What are doing that could be done by others or not done at all?

Getting a clear image of what you need to do – and what not to do – can create a focus and clarity when building plans for the future.

Suggestion 3 – Write Exciting Goals

When you write out your goals for the next year, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How exciting is that goal?
  2. If the goal is accomplished, how proud will you be with the results?
  3. Will the completed goal make a difference in your life? In the lives of others?
  4. How will you be different as a result of the goal?

A boring goal is just that, boring! Focus on something really important and exciting. We only live once, make it count!

Suggestion 4 – Take One Day at a Time

With a plan in hand, try to take one day at a time. Remember the following three principles:

  1. Get something done every day – it keeps you in touch with the goal
  2. A small accomplishment each day adds up
  3. Keep notes on how things are progressing

Incorporating your plan into your daily activities can make the plan a reality.

Suggestion 5 – Find a Good Friend

Avoid going it alone. Find a friend: someone who will listen to your goals and your progress. Set up a regular time when you can share your plan and your progress. When you get together, consider the following topics as part of the conversation:

  1. What were the goals?
  2. What were the accomplishments?
  3. What were the challenges?
  4. What were the new insights about yourself?
  5. What will help you as you continue to work on the goals?

Having a friend who will listen, be honest with you and keep you moving in the right direction is a valuable part of keeping your plan alive.


All the best as you move forward in 2014!