Designing a Big Picture

Designing a Big Picture

As Groundhog Day Resolutions is fast-approaching, I’ve been spending about an hour a day trying to crack a giant nut: how to represent what I’m doing in way that can be tracked in a satisfying way. I’d started to outline the mechanics for a game-like approach in Plotting for Motivation II, but as I reviewed it last night I wasn’t convinced this was the right approach.

This is the difficult part of design for me, when I don’t know what to do that will deliver a result. I’m used to thinking through problems to come up with a hypothetical solution, but in this case the solution isn’t clear or obvious.

The trick to get past this is to just do something anyway, and count on spending a bunch of time on it. I know from past experience that it takes me between 40 and 80 hours to create a polished prototype of a brand new idea. That time is spent trying a lot of things until you find a few pieces that seem to fit, and then those fragments crystalize into a whole organism. Sometimes that organism isn’t viable, but it’s a stepping stone to the next design.

So here’s my first stepping stone, only partially complete and not organized, but it started to give me an idea that the big picture is like a game board divided into realms and portals.

Big Picture Draft 01 I think the big picture I need becomes a place that can accept attachment of ideas and activities. It’s the missing bedrock of my to-do list landscape. It reminds me a little bit of the visual model approach to business planning, but highly personalized to what I need to do. Perhaps it’s more of an operations map.

So, it’s slow going, but I’m posting this as a reminder to myself of how far I’m going to have to go, one idea at a time.