Organizing Your Visual Thinking Space

Before you organize your visual thinking environment be sure to decide on a thinking space and likewise identify all the necessary visual thinking creation tools you will need to create the perfect visual thinking environment.

Having accomplished this step, let’s now find a place for everything, and put everything in its place.

Creative People are Messy and Disorganized?

In January 2006, Cleveland-based PsyMax Solutions studied the work styles of hundreds of CEO’s and other top executives. What they found was absolutely shocking. In fact, this discovery rocked the foundations of corporate America. 🙂

These researchers discovered that the CEO’s and top Executives were considerably less organized, however far more creative than individuals in other professions. Learn more.

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Given the fact that visual thinking is a creative pursuit, does this mean that you should strive to keep your thinking space messy and cluttered? Well… yes and no.

You should strive to keep your thinking space organized, however when you’re in the midst of a creative breakthrough, it’s perfectly okay to completely mess up your thinking space and simply allow your creativity to flow. In such instances, use all the visual thinking tools you have at your disposal to express yourself in as many ways as required to help solve your problem.

It’s therefore perfectly okay to be messy, just as-long-as at the end of your visual thinking expedition, you have a place for everything, and put everything in its place. This will help you save time and will likewise boost your levels of productivity. In fact having an organized space:

  • Saves you time looking for stuff.
  • Saves you time when working and thinking.
  • Saves you time cleaning.
  • Saves you time making decisions.

In addition to the time saving benefits, an organized space also provides you with the following advantages:

Your Thinking Space in a Nutshell

Having an organized Thinking Space means:

  • Using your space and time more efficiently.
  • Placing things in a logical sequence, in logical groups or within a logical system.
  • Simplifying your environment.
  • Things are conveniently located, easily accessible, added, removed, re-arranged and tidy.
  • Ordering items in rows, columns, by size, color, hierarchy, type and shape.

Please don’t get me wrong. When it comes to your Thinking Space, it’s not about achieving perfection. It’s rather about creating a system that naturally allows space for your thinking to flourish. However, in order to optimize your Thinking Space appropriately you must first understand how you will be:

  • Performing tasks
  • Making decisions
  • Using items
  • Spending your time

For this very reason you should identify activity zones where you will be doing different types of visual thinking work. For instance:

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  • Working on the computer.
  • Brainstorming on a whiteboard.
  • Playing around with index cards.
  • Pacing around the room. 😉

Everything you do and how you organize your thinking space must be built around critical decisions that you will be making while you’re thinking visually. These activities must help you to automate the decision-making process while at the same time allowing you the freedom and flexibility to think creatively.

Thinking Space Functional Storage

When it comes to organizing your Thinking Space, one of your main objectives is to make sure that you have suitable functional storage facilities and compartments available to help you find a place for everything. You must in essence create a system for organizing all your stuff, because in the end, the less you have to think about “looking for stuff”, the more you can think about visually solving your problems.

To assist you with this task, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I need to have a place for?
  • Does it need to be within arm’s reach?
  • What supplies will help me to stay organized?
  • Under what conditions will I require certain items and tools?
  • Within which activity zones will they be required?
  • How must I label things?
  • Is there a simpler way to organize this?
  • Do I like how this looks and functions?
  • How will I remind myself to use this system?

Sketching Out Your Thinking Space

Having answered the above questions, spend some time sketching out a blueprint (floor-plan) of your Thinking Space — exactly how you imagine and picture it in your minds-eye. While sketching, keep in mind that it’s important to create dedicated areas for major activities and decisions, and to also create a space for every one of your visual thinking tools. Once this is done, begin physically piecing together your Thinking Space using relevant equipment, furniture and accessories.

Finally, keep in mind that your entire Thinking Space must be organized around two elements: Convenience and Accessibility.

Follow these guidelines and you will create the ultimate visual thinking environment that will help enhance how you think, work, solve problems and generate ideas. Ignore these guidelines, and your proficiency as a visual thinker may never come to full bloom.


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