Do you think perfectionism is a blessing or a curse? While a lot of people think that perfectionism is a possitive trait reality shows that most people suffer from the consequences of perfectionism. Don’t get me wrong – I like to finish things but there is a difference in doing your job good and doing your job perfect. The main difference is TIME SPENT.

I have made a small whiteboard animation to show the cost of perfectionism according to the 80/20 rule.

What do you think?

Please let me know.

kitchen timerIn this post I am going to share one of the best insights with you that I ever had from a book. The book is The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now
by Rita Emmett. It is a must read if you are suffering from procrastination. What did I learn?

One of the most important aids in working smarter is an ordinary kitchen timer!

Have you ever been overwhelmed by a task that you had to do? It looked like a mountain that could not be conquered. When  you procrastinate because of dreading a job that you have to do, than you’re not the only one. There are a lot of “dreaders” out there – but there is help.

Dreaders often have no idea how long it takes to do what ever job they are dreading. For instance – are you constantly shuffling though piles of paper on your desk? You don’t know how to start organizing your desk? You probably spent more time shuffling each day than it would take you to sort through the papers once and for all – filing, processing, tossing out or recycling.

If you are a “dreader” there are two steps that you have to take.

  1. Realize that the job probably won’t take the entire weekend of afternoon or however much time you think it will.
  2. Take a kitchen timer, set it for sixty minutes and devote one uninterrupted hour to the project. No coffee breaks, no phone calls, no email etc.

After you have done that one of three things will happen:

  • You’ll finish the job and be amazed at how little time it took.
  • You’ll discover that it is such an enormous project that it will take many more hours to complete, but you have make a small dent in it.
  • You are not finished, but you see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the most likely scenario. Once you’ve gained momentum, you won’t want to stop. You may actually enjoy pushing ahead to complete the project.

Regardless of how much you have accomplished in an hour, you will learn one of the most important lessons in conquering procrastination

What you dread is not spending time and energy on the project, but simply getting started.


Tomorrow’s fate, though thou be wise,
Thou canst not tell nor yet surmise;
Pass, therefore, not in vain,
For it will never come again.

-Omar Khayyam


Please share your productivity tips by commenting to this post. I love to hear from you 🙂

Hi – Did you know that a lot of people start their day or week without first thinking about what they want to do or accomplish?

Maybe you are one of them…

But you know – It is really a shame!


Because you can be far more productive when you take 10 minutes each day to write down the days activities and to prioritise them. Let’s review some advantages:


  • Your brain is turned on! You will be more effective because your brain is ready for action and it is focussed on the tasks that you have written down
  • You can mark tasks as done. It gives a good feeling and positive energy to mark a task as done on your list. This energy helps you to continue with your next taks.
  • You are prepared. This is a tremendous advantage. Some say that preparation is 90% of your success. Have you ever been in a meeting with people who were not prepared? – than you know what I mean 🙂

Don’t underestimate these advantages of a simple review of your daily activities. Those 10 minutes are the best investment in the success of the whole day. You will experience that these 10 minutes will save you at least 1 hour each day and it will give you confidence and energy. Please let me know about your methods of preparing for the day…




Greetings Your WorkSmarterGuy      

Know your Audience

Have you experienced one of the following situations?

  • My audience is not listening or paying attention to my presentation
  • The result of my presentation is very poor
  • I get negative response on my presentations

If this is familiar to you then there is a chance that you haven’t prepared your presentation with your audience in mind.

Connecting with your audience means success!

To be effective you have to really know your audience.

Four businesspeople in boardroom with one businessman sleeping

So before you start preparing ask yourself a couple of questions about your audience

  • What are they like?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Why did they come to this presentation?
  • What is best way  to reach them?
  •  What are their fears?
  • How will they react to what you have to say?
  • How can you help them solve their problems?
  • What do you want them to do as a result of your presentation?

The answers to the questions will help you to create a presentation that really fits the needs of your audience. They will feel at ease and your presentation will have effect.

Do not forget to include a strong call for action in your conclusion.






What makes them tic?

What do ty

iMindMap Basic

I am very excited to write this article about the complete new iMindmap 6. I already liked iMindmap 5 very much but still missed some features. It looks like the “guys” at Thinkbuzan have read my mind. This new version addresses most of the issues that I had with iMindmp 5.

Here is a short movie where Owen Hardy @ThinkBuzan explains what is new in iMindMap6.

Now let’s have a look at the new and improved featured I like most. Note that these features are only available in het Ultimate version of iMindmap6.

iMindMap Basic

My personal favorites


The New presentation mode

The presentation mode has been completely rebuilt and it now possible to make your OWN presentation. You now can design you own “slides” and you have all the freedom you want and need. It is now very easy to use one mind map for different presentations. 

See this 12 minutes video for more details  on the presentation mode. After this you want to download the free trial version and experience it yourself 🙂


Improved 3D mode

The 3D mode is now fully functional. You can create mind maps in 2D or 3D mode. There are also special central idea images that are enhanced for 3D mode viewing. The effect is stunning. Thinkbuzan has also added some 3D backgrounds. This really enhances the 3D experience. You have to see it to understand how it works. 

This video shows you some highlights about the new 3D mode

 The new branch target

The new design of the branch target is a real time saver. In version 5 you had to use the menu to choose between the type of branch before you could draw the branch. With the new branch target you can directly draw normal branches, box branches or relationships without using the menu. Together with the full screen mode you really have the idea that you are working on a mind map instead of using a program to do that. You don’t need the menu that much any more because almost you want to do is available from context menu’s that pop-up automatically or by using the new branch target. Way to go ThinkBuzan! See the movie for the new branch target.



Mindmap Snppets

 The last new feature I would like to mention is the mind map snippets feature. It looks a lot like map part feature of Mindmanager that I use a lot. It allows you to re-use mind map parts. Just select a brach that you want to re-use and create a snippet. You can use this snippet in another mind map without having to draw the branches again. Very useful for planning or work breakdown structures that you use over and over again.

Other interesting new and improved features

  • better stench tool
  • better and smoother performance
  • Multi select ( Yes – finally)
  • better floating text features
  • Versioning with way back feature with Buzan Cloud services
  • New box branch types
  • Customizable relationships
  • Fullscreen mode
  • ….
iMindMap Basic


As a business consultant and trainer I used to prefer Mindmanager as the ultimate business tool. With iMindmap 5 I started using iMindmap more and more. It was the only software that could produce beautiful mind maps and it could be used on a PC and on a MAC (very important to me) . It gradually became my software of choice for mind mapping in a business context. 
With iMindmap 6 there is no doubt for me. It will be my preferred software for visual mapping. No software program is perfect but iMindmap 6 comes as close as can be.
With iMindmap 6 you  can create
  • beautiful mind maps
  • basic flowcharts
  • Gantt charts for project planning
  • outlines
  • basic concept maps
The 3D view and the smart layout and lots of other features just blows the competition away.  Combine this with the iMindmap freedom package (Buzan Cloud, Android and iPhone apps) and you can’y go wrong IMO.
Is there nothing that could be improved or are there no wishes left?
Of course. Like I stated – no software program is perfect. 
These are some improvements that I would like to see in iMindmap 6.
  • Improved task management system with a more intuitive interface and basic resource reporting
  • Expand and collapse options for one branch and not only for the whole mind map
  • Saving filter queries
  • Easier drag and drop of branches
  • floating topics for easy brainstorming (idea generation)
So I hope @thinkbuzan will read this article and take note of my suggestions 🙂
Ton Meeuwissen
Visual Thinker, Trainer and Business Consultant


Visual projectmanagement

For project management Gantt charts and Pert charts belong to the most used visual aids. A Gantt chart shows the taks and the assigned team members on a timeline. This can be very helpful but in real life Gantt charts have to be updated on a daily basis because the actual work that is done differs from the project baseline.

WEB 2.0 technology enables groups to collaborate. This type of collaboration is very useful in projectmanagement. Services like basecamp can provide overview in projects and you can share documents and comments.

For small projects there are interesting new developments. One of them is Trello. Leonardo Da Vinci once said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and that really holds true for Trello. Trello is very simple yet extremely effective (and free :)).
So let’s have a look at Trello by clicking on the Youtube video.

You have to try this for yourself. Like I said – It is FREE 🙂

At home my 14 year old son uses it to keep me informed about his homework assignments and other tasks and chores. Until now nothing worked bu this does. He enjoys it and I know what he is doing and when. It is simple and at the same time more sophisticated than you think.

Another helpful webservice is Cohuman. It is a Mindjet initiative and that’s reassuring because Mindjet has some trackrecord in visualisation software (ie. Mindmanager). differs from Trello in the fact Trello resembles your actions and actively determines the priorities of the tasks in you project(s). is a webservice that still is quite unique. I have never come acros something like it.

Cohuman is a social online task management service that provides groups of people a more dynamic and effective way to communicate on projects and get work done.  Cohuman creates a social task network that improves the coordination of people and tasks across all projects so everyone is on the same page and knows precisely what they need to do.

While Trello can be used for simple projects and collaboration Cohuman is capable of handling complex projects and tasks. It is very difficult to describe all the features and therefore I advise you to watch the three minute Youtube video and see for yourself. I am very confident that you want to try this out immediatelly!’

So – if you are a project manager of if you work in a project team, you have to check out Trello or Cohuman. These two novel webservices are free and enable you to run your projects effectively with visual dashboards and social media integration.

I am very interested in webservices that you use for task- and project management. Feel free to leave your comment.

Till next time

The power of visual

Hi there

It has been some time since my last post and I am ready to roll again. This post is about visual. About visualisation, visual thinking, visual meetings etc.

I found a very nice mindmap at about staying focussed in the age of distraction.


Talking about working smarter not harder staying focussed is one of the main things we need to do. And that is DIFFICULT!!

The embedded mindmap is a beautiful guide in staying focussed, Besides the good content it also shows the power of mindmapping. I can’t stress this enough. Take a close look at this mindmap and try to imagine the number of pages who would need to convey this message. Not only the words but also the pictures and the branches contain and convey information. Wow – don’t you agree that  this is really powerful.

Mindmaps are ideal for mapping out plans, setting up as essay structure, structure your thoughts etc. But…. mindmaps are not a panacea. It is a handy tool that everyone should master. But there is more in the world of visual thinking.

INFOGRAPHICS are HOT! – See this google insights graph

At sites like you can see thousands of them and you can also upload your own. Try it and let me know how you use infographics. I am very curious.

Till next time.

In my last post I wrote about the importance of lists. Of course there is nothing wrong with good ol’ piece of paper but let’s face it – we are living in the 21st century and most of us use an iphone or some other mobile device to keep our lives organized.

These mobile devices are excellent for keeping track of your lists. There are a lot of good apps for IOS and Android and I’m not going to provide an exhausted list of them but I am going to give you some tips how to choose one.

I am a real  “cloud person” which means that I like to have my data on all devices that I have. If you are a “cloud person” you should choose an app that can synchronize with webservices like toodledo or remember the milk. This way you can manage your lists from either device or from the website itself.

My iPhone 3g broke down two months ago in the sense that I needs to plugged in to work. It still works but it is not a mobile device anymore 🙂

So the lasts two months I use a simple Samsung android phone – and to be honest I like it!

Here are some of the apps that I really like:

MAC apps:

Todo from Appigo
Remember the Milk
and of course the standard built in list app in IOS 5 which automatically synchronizes via iCloud.




Andriod app(s):

Astrid – I only found one good GTD app. Please let me know if you found other apps.


Remember the milk



If you only want a simple free task manager then you should try Wunderlist. It is free and it has a beautiful look and feel. The best news is that is it available on all platforms.

So far my initial thoughts about apps to keep track of your tasks. In the future I will post more in depth kind of reviews on some of these apps.

Please let me know what apps you are using.

Lists, lists, lists

This is a short post about the importance of lists in our life. Maybe you hate lists as much as I do – but there is no alternative. To be listless is an inefficient en unproductive way to live life.

Lists are important because they:

  • help you to remember to do things
  • unclutter your mind
  • help you to take inventory
  • are motivating and provide direction
  • help you set goals
  • help you establish priorities
  • keep you focused
  • are satisfying when you can cross off all your accomplishments
  • help you visualize
  • help organise and clarify your thinking (and can move you from generalities to specifics)
  • ……

Of course you can use your iPhone or other device to make lists. There are excellent taks management apps for IOS and Android. I love Todo from Appigo and Things for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

An excellent alternative for Android users is Astrid.

Last but not least there are a lot of cloud services like Remember the Milk or Toodledo.

My wife doesn’t like all these gadgets but she said that I have become more organised since I use my iPhone  🙂


Please feel free to leave your comment. I am very interested why and how you use lists (or not).


Breaking outChanging your “bad” habits and adapting new ones is one of the most difficult things to do. Habits are so much a part of us that changing them requires a lot of effort and much more….

Let me try to illustrate this:

Maybe you’re kind of chaotic (like me  ;-)) and you want to change that. You have bought a book about Getting Things Done or about Time Management and you start applying the instructions. The first weeks you are in high spirits – you think that you’ve mastered the problem. BUT – after three months you are back to “normal”, sitting between you piles of papers and clutter asking yourself  WHY DIDN”T IT WORK? And what is worse – now you’re also more frustrated than before because you didn’t succeed.

Does this sound familiar? It does for the majority of people who start with a personal effectiveness program or time management.

Why do we fail? 😥

Of course there is no ONE reason for everyone but the common mistake that we make is right at the START of our endeavor. We just START without being well motivated and without setting well defined SMART goals.

Why is this so important? Our brain likes to be challenged. When we do not set specific goals nothing is going to happen.

How can we motivate ourselves?

Visualisation works best.

  • Visualize the problems that you encounter at the moment
    • Every day your are stressed
    • You have a lot of ad-hoc tasks
    • You have no insight and oversight of your projects
    • Your boss and your colleagues are getting annoyed
    • ……
  • Visualize the benefits that you will have once you have mastered this new habit
    • you are less stressed
    • you can meet your deadlines
    • You are able to plan your todos
    • your have more self esteem
    • Your boss and colleagues will like you
    • …….

How can we set SMART goals?

Your goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. if they are not – you’re fooling yourself!

“I want to have my administration in order” is NOT a smart goal.

“At the end of the month I want to have sorted out all papers and to have a new setup for my administration” is a lot better. You can try to improve this one.

Try to involve someone else. Maybe your spouse or a good friend and asked him or her to help you to succeed in attaining the set SMART goal.

Of course you also need a kind of method. There is a variety of methods. Just pick one and start well motivated and with SMART goals.


I wish you the best in attaining your SMART goals and changing bad habits into good ones.