Posts Tagged ‘templates’

Flexible Focus #64: The One Year Plan

by William Reed on August 4, 2011

The Mandala Chart can be used to help you focus on your priorities for the current year, regardless of how many months remain in it. Using a template adapted from the original developed by Matsumura Yasuo, the founder of the Mandala Chart method, you can get a picture of your status in the current month, where you want to be by December of the current year, draw an image representing the achievement of your goal, and write down specific steps you need to take to reach your goal. Moreover, you can do this for not just one, but for all 8 of the major fields of life, Health, Business, Finances, Home, Society, Personal, Study, and Leisure, all on a single sheet of paper.

The format for the template is shown in the illustration, but it should be copied and handwritten, preferably on B4 or A3 sized paper to give you room to write. The process is the same for each category. Write a brief description or list of points describing 1) Your current status, 2) Results by December, 3) A sketch or image for the end of the year, and 4) Steps you need to take to reach this

You may only need to do this once every quarter, but you should check your progress at the beginning of each month, and reflect on what you need to do to stay on track. This is far superior to a To Do List, because it takes into account the whole picture, the details, and how everything is connected.

Using a traditional linear To Do List puts you at risk of achieving one set of goals at the expense of another, succeeding in your job, only to ruin your health. Or you might set yourself an unrealistic task list, and end up giving up before you make progress on your truly significant goals. In other words, this format gives you perspective as well a focus, something not easy to achieve with traditional goal setting tools. You may also wish to set a theme for each of the 8 fields, a short phrase or key words which helps you focus on the big picture for that field.

Ideally you do this at the beginning of each year, but even if you start late in the calendar year you can still use it, though your focus may be on a more immediate set of objectives. It is still worthwhile, because it gives you practice in thinking in this way, and each year you will get better at it.

The image in Step 3 is quite important as well, because it gives you a visual anchor, a point of mental focus. It also breaks the monotony of pure text. When you create your One Year Template, be sure to leave enough room to list 5 to 8 phrases, as well as to illustrate your goal. You can write small, but you don’t want to feel cramped in when thinking about your future.

You might also score yourself in your current status on a scale of up to 100 points in each field, indicating where you stand over all, as well as where you need to focus your efforts and time. Once you complete the exercise, you will be ready to transfer your action steps to your Mandala Diary or Day Planner. This would also be a good place to store your One Year Plan, so that you can take it out and look at it from time to time.

Again the steps in filling out the template are:

  1. Take an assessment of your situation in the current month. Score yourself on a scale up to 100 points.
  2. Describe as specifically as you can what you would like your situation to be in December of the current year.
  3. Blend steps 1 and 2 into an image that represents achievement of your goal, and how you will feel.
  4. Write a specific action plan of what you need to do between now and then to make it happen.

Taking care of what is important in one area can make life easier in another. Likewise, neglecting one area can negatively affect another. When you experience this for yourself, you will better understand the principles in the Framework of Wisdom, such as the Principle of Interdependence, and other principles which we have covered in this series.

The more you appreciate how each area is connected, the better you will understand how success in one area can positively affect the others. This will alter your thinking, and improve your action steps to keep everything in balance. Taking action steps in one area which simultaneously contribute to other areas in your life is working smarter, rather than harder.

For most people it isn’t easy to get perspective on life. Nor is it easy to set goals, create a specific action plan, and stay motivated to take the action steps required. However, all of this becomes easier once you get it on paper, where you can see the big picture, focus on the details, and appreciate how each part is connected. The One Year Plan is one of many templates available for the Mandala Chart, and it is one of the best ways to make sure that you are attending to everything that is important, without losing sight of the whole.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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Flexible Focus #31: Mobile Mandala

by William Reed on December 9, 2010

Flexible Focus is Physical

One of the best ways to benefit from the Mandala Chart is to put it to use, engage in it physically. If you step into it, like Alice through the Looking Glass, you will discover that it has many new dimensions to explore.

There are four primary ways of doing this:

  1. Engaging more deeply in the 8 fields of life
  2. Taking action on your thoughts
  3. Presenting or writing about your ideas
  4. Using idea capture software and tools

The best way is to combine one or more of these for full engagement. This means writing, speaking, and working your way through it until you give your ideas shape, life, and substance so that others can benefit from them. The seeds of your ideas may be mental or intuitive in origin, but their implementation is very much a physical process.

The Best of Both Worlds

The Mandala Chart is a tool to facilitate flexible focus, and we have already looked at templates for the A-Chart and B-Chart, the Mandala Business Diary, the eMandala Chart. Now there is an idea capture tool that runs on the premiere platform of all, the Apple iPad. MandalaChart iPad is an App that will be released in mid-December 2010, available for purchase in the iTunes Store, for JPY 600 (about USD 4.00).

This is in many ways the best of both worlds, the tool and the technology, thanks to the portability, connectivity, and sheer elegance of the iPad. MandalaChart iPad makes it easier than ever to capture, present, and implement ideas, view and edit templates, and create a true zoom lens for your life.

Its first version will just support text, but the next update will feature hyperlinks and images,  and it only gets better from there. The first version supports A-Charts and B-Charts, so that you can start with the standard 3×3 view, zoom out to 64 frames, or focus in depth on a single frame. You can also store your files in folders.

There will also be a page where you can download free templates, as well as purchase templates and template packets on particular topics. The MandalaChart iPad App will support multiple languages, and you can preview the page for English-language instructions.

You can download a jpg image called Mastering the Mandala Chart, created in the MandalaChart iPad App, which is also a summary and overview of this Flexible Focus series.

If you live in Tokyo, we will be featuring the Mandala Chart iPad, as well as other creativity applications at a special event at the Ginza Apple Store to be held on January 20 (Thu) from 19:00~20:00.

Where this is going

The MandalaChart iPad App is a qualitative and quantitative leap above what came before. It will be an enhanced experience of flexible focus, digital navigation, idea capture and sharing.

It can be the perfect place to store your notes and action lists from articles in this series. Reading leads to understanding, but only action leads to results. Go back and review other articles in this series, and see if you don’t find points that you had forgotten about, or have yet to take action on. Having your ideas all stored in one place will make it easier to find them. Moreover, the MandalaChart iPad App can be a springboard for action and implementation.

Its only limitation is that it only runs on the Apple iPad. The Apple iPad has proved to be hugely successful, approaching sales of 10 million units. There are lots of reasons for its popularity, and this App will add one more. If you are still sitting on the fence, or know someone who is thinking about it, the place to send them is the Apple iPad Page.

From Matrix to Mandala

Templates and content that will be created for the MandalaChart iPad App will help you move along the path From Matrix to Mandala Chart, the subject of an article I wrote for my online column Creative Career Path.

The essential idea is that the reason why it is typically so hard to connect thought and action is that we experience lack of certainty stemming from one of two things. Either we are trapped in the limitations of logic, which ignores emotion and countless other factors; or we are trapped in the ambiguity of intuition, which is easily swayed by wishful thinking. The article proposes that the Mandala Chart is the perfect bridge between logic and intuition, incorporating both through fuzzy logic.

The MandalaChart iPad App is a significant step in integrating idea capture with idea implementation, just as flexible focus is in integrating thought and action.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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When it comes to capturing your thoughts, do you prefer handwriting or software? Why not use both?

Handwriting is more personal, spontaneous, and aesthetically engaging, but it is more difficult to edit, harder to organize, and harder to read. Software is faster, more flexible, easy to organize and share, but it is not free, there is a learning curve in mastering the features, and it is less personal.

Of course you can maximize the benefits and overcome some of the drawbacks by combining the two approaches. For example, you can print out a Mandala Chart generated with a software program, and use it to take handwritten notes when you are away from your computer. You can scan and store your handwritten notes. You can take handwritten notes or use a keyboard, depending on your mood or physical location. It is a matter of both/and, not either/or. Analog plus digital mandala.

Software is often for early adapters, who are willing to invest a small amount of time and money to master tools which can then greatly extend their reach. As with transportation, owning a car gives you greater access and convenience, but it is not meant to replace your legs. Nothing is stopping you from using both.

The eMandala Chart for Early Adapters

The eMandala Chart is a web-based subscription software site which enables you to produce, save, share, and print A-Chart and B-Chart Mandalas. Though it is not difficult to use, there is one hurdle that makes it a bit of a challenge. Some of the menu and instructions are in Japanese.

To make it more accessible, we have created some basic English instructions which enable you to register and use the site for a trial period of 21 days. If you want to continue beyond that, the payment process online is fairly straightforward, but as some of the auto responder announcements are in Japanese, this creates a hurdle that makes the program perhaps better suited at this stage for early adapters. The advantage is that eMandala Chart enables you to produce digital Mandala Charts, and print them out as PDF files.

To access the eMandala Chart website visit: http://www.mandalachart.net

The landing page at first glance appears to be entirely in Japanese, but if you look closely in the middle of the left-hand column, you will find a link that reads, English Registration Process. Clicking here takes you through a 7-step registration process that should get you signed up for the trial period of 21 days.

If you get stuck at any part of the procedure, including trying to decipher auto responder messages in Japanese, one power user tip is to enter the web address or the text in Google Translate, and get a rough machine translation that is probably adequate for the purpose.

That is the hardest part, though it is not really so difficult. Once you are registered, there are lots of cool things you can do with the eMandala Chart.

  • Create A-Chart and B-Chart Mandalas which you can edit, rearrange with a single click, and print out as a PDF file. Of course you can enter text in English, or other languages.
  • Create your own templates, which you can use online or print out for work offline.
  • See all of your thoughts at a glance, the big picture, the small detail, and the relationships, and you can change the position of a box with one click in the upper corner.
  • Organize and file all of your Mandala Charts in one convenient place.

There is room for improvement in the program, which imposes some limitations on design and appearance.

  • The print button generates a pre-formatted Mandala Chart in PDF form, which needs to be renamed as file, and includes some Japanese wording about the software in the footer which you cannot erase.
  • You cannot choose the font or formatting for the text, and the amount of text shown is limited to a certain number of characters. In other words, if your text is long, you may have more information in your digital file than you can actually print out.
  • There is no feature for adding graphics or editing the PDF, unless you have a PDF editor such as PDFpen for Mac, CutePDF for Windows, or of course an Adobe Acrobat program.
  • The interface was designed for Japanese, and there is virtually no support available in English. It is not difficult to use, but you are on your own. However, you do have a free trial period of 21 days to make up your mind on how it works for you.

eMandala Templates

Another nice feature of the eMandala Chart is the availability of eMandala Templates, which provide content in Mandala Chart form. You can even create your own. At this point there are only two content packages available, and one of them is in Japanese. Both can be viewed and purchased at: http://www.mandalachart.net/land/, and you can download instructions on how to experience the Mandala Master Contents.

There is information on the web link too about the Nanba Diary English Version Template Set, which contains 30 Nanba Templates that you can use to engage with Nanba, the Art of Physical Finesse, including A-Charts and B-Charts that essentially provide 8 key questions a day for a month. You can download a sample here of the first one in the set, Enjoy the Mind.

Why eMandala Chart?

You might ask, why introduce a program that is not fully designed for smooth use in English? After you pass the initial hurdle, with a little patience you have access to a new vehicle for producing and sharing Mandala Charts. If you don’t want to bother, but still want to produce Mandala Charts on your computer, I offer an alternative in an earlier article in this series, Finding Focus in the Frames. However, it is worth giving the eMandala Chart a try. Unlike a simple Word or Excel file, eMandala Chart enables you to drill down and create layers of thought, with navigation links up and down. This is closer to the flexible focus experience than simply opening disconnected files in folders on your computer.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, we offer the eMandala Chart as a work in progress. The true value of the tool is how you use it to make improvements in your life, and in the lives of those around you.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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One sheets are single page, 8 ½ by 11-inch, marketing documents used by authors to promote their books and build their profits by attracting speaking invitations and promoting their coaching and consulting services.

One sheets can be as simple, or elaborate, as desired. You can create them using either one, or both sides, of a sheet of paper. One sheets are typically formatted and distributed as Adobe Acrobat PDF files. They can be downloaded from your website, or sent as e-mail attachments. One sheets can also be printed, or commercially duplicated, as needed for face-to-face meetings or special events.

How authors use one sheets

Here are some of the ways you can put one sheets to work:

  • Sell more books. Authors typically prepare separate one sheets for each of their book titles. Each book is typically described within the broader context of the author’s qualifications and previous publishing experience.
  • Attract more invitations to speak. One-sheets make it easy for authors to showcase their qualifications and experiences to conference planners and event organizers. You can create a generic speaker one sheet that describes the different topics you speak on, or you can prepare a different one-sheet for each specific keynote or presentation topic. See sample speaker one sheets.
  • Products and services. One sheets make a lot more sense than the typical pre-printed 2 or 3-fold brochures used for promoting events, like teleseminars, and coaching and consulting services. Because of their low cost, one sheets can be targeted for specific markets. Authors frequently use them for marketing information products like e-books, e-courses, conferences, and software templates.

Print them as you need them

In many ways, one sheets are replacing traditional 2-fold and 3-fold printed brochures. Internet distribution means there are no minimums that need to be printed, and there are no distribution delays or mailing costs.

Even better, you can quickly and easily update and target your one sheets for new products or specific prospects or market segments.

One sheet power at work

As you can see from the example of Steve Savage’s speaker one sheet, one sheets formatted as PDFs combine space for a detailed message with a lot of visual impact.

It’s important to remember that, unlike web pages, one sheets formatted and shared as Adobe Acrobat PDF file’s preserve their design and formatting when downloaded and printed on conventional desktop printers.

The ability to print and share one sheets distributed as PDFs is extremely important. For example, when an event planner wants to hire a speaker, they typically will share the author’s one sheets when seeking their boss’s and co-worker’s approval. .

Characteristics of successful one sheets

Here are some content ideas to bear in mind when creating one sheets:

  • Headline. Each one sheet should begin with an engaging headline that appeals to the prospect’s need to solve a problem or achieve a goal. The headline should summarize the problem the author’s product or service addresses, or how attendees will benefit from the product or service.
  • Benefits. Each one sheet should tell a complete story. It should provide all of the information that a book buyer, event organizer, or prospective client needs to know. Categories of information include contents, the author’s qualifications, background, and contact information.
  • Proof. One sheets should prove the author’s ability by including reader or reviewer comments, typical clients, and testimonials from previous attendees, buyers, or event planners.

One sheets can benefit from direct response copywriting techniques. The headline should engage the prospect’s interest and sell the importance of the first sentence. The first sentence should sell the importance of  the next sentence, and so on through the one sheet. The goal is to lead the prospect to the inexcusable conclusion that the speaker, product, or service represents a quality, “safe” investment.

One sheet organization and design

Design will play a major role in the effectiveness of your one sheets. Like the previous example, Steve Savage’s consulting one sheet contains a lot of text, yet it is easy to read and presents a professional, upscale image. Contributing to the success of Steve’s one sheets are design techniques like:

  • Organization. Colored backgrounds organize information into logical sections.
  • Photography. The varying size and placement of the photographs adds visual impact and communicates Steve’s energetic way of engaging audiences.
  • Chunking. Information is broken up into bite-sized pieces. Lists are used to add visual interest and communicate at a glance.
  • Subheads. New topics are introduced by subheads set in a contrasting typeface, type size, and color.
  • Consistency. A few key colors are used with restraint. The same colors are used on each of Steve’s one sheets, projecting a consistent “family look.”

Templates and one sheets

Authors should base their one sheets on templates, permitting them to “design once, produce often.”

Instead of trying to create their own one sheets from scratch, (which can lead to amateurish results), or hiring graphic designers to produce each one sheet, (which can be expensive), authors should consider hiring a professional designers to create a one sheet template they can easily modify for specific projects.

Suggestion

Start your one sheet marketing by creating a single one sheet that promotes your book and the speaking and presenting topics you offer based on your book. Later, you can prepare additional individual one sheets for specific speaking topics, products, and coaching or consulting services.

Note: for one week only, you can download my One Sheet Planning Worksheet from my special Active Garage resource page.

rcp-heming-picRoger C. Parker helps others write books that build brands. He’s written over 30 books, offers do-it-yourself resources at Published & Profitable, and shares writing tips each weekday. His latest book is Title Tweet! 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Article, Book, and Event Titles
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