Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 60 - June 2010 - by Phil Chambers


TIME TO READ: 5 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 1,150. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

If you are not a subscriber to the newsletter click here and fill in your name and e-mail address at the top of the page.

Welcome to the June 2010 issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This issue, number 60, marks the 5th birthday. It seems only yesterday that I was first writing about giving presentations without notes back in 2005! This month we have have an article on the how I use Mind Map plans to run my business plus our regular features of quote of the month and what I’ve been up to.


June's Quote of the Month

"Those who do not study are only cattle dressed up in men’s clothes"

~Chinese Proverb

More quotes here


What's Phil Up To?

Phil's Photo

I have just returned from ten days in Scotland with my friend and colleague Elaine Collar. We were putting the finishing touches to a very exciting new product for students that you can read more about below.

Next week I am repeating my very well received presentation ‘How to Use Memory Techniques in Everyday Life’ at St Paul’s Club in Birmingham.

I also continue to run competitions for the Schools’ Memory Championships.


Super Study Skills for Students

Whenever I give a presentation at least one person from the audience says, “I wish I had known this when I was at school”. Unfortunately, it isn’t physically possible to travel to every student who could benefit from the techniques around the world. So my colleague Elaine Colliar and I have spent hundreds of hours distilling the best of our seminars and books into a new 52 part e-book.

Have you ever bought a book or been on a course with the best intentions but fallen back into old habits a few months later? Our e-book prevents this by being delivered to your email in-box in weekly bite sized instalments. The text is easy to read with numerous illustrations. In addition to this there are interactive on-line games, exercises, animations and audio content to consolidate the learning.

The book is aimed at students from age eleven to undergraduates but the principles are applicable to people of any age that want to learn more effectively.

How much would you expect to pay for such a wealth of information? Our aim is to make it as accessible as possible so we have priced it at less than the cost of a quality Sunday newspaper. Just £1.50 a week. To find our more click here.


Mind Map Plans for Business Efficiency

Tony Buzan describes Mind Mapping as the ‘Swiss Army Knife for the Brain’. It truly does have myriad applications and I have used the technique for many purposes in the past. These range from the purely artistic Christmas cards to more serious exam revision and book writing. However, currently the most useful application is for the daily running of my business. Planning my time and day to day tasks:

At the beginning of each month I create a new Mind Map plan. This has a central image that represents that particular month. For example: January is a snowflake, February is a heart, March is a daffodil, April is an umbrella, etc.

I then create typically 4 main branches – I will explain each of them in turn:


This has two sub-branches for major outgoings and income due that month. The income then divides into each company or individual that I have done business with over the previous month that owes me money. In some cases this is carried over for long-standing depts. Each company has a series of sub-branches with the relevant invoice numbers, due dates and amounts. This is really useful as it allows me to see cash-flow at a glance and whenever I receive a cheque in the post I can highlight the relevant branch to indicate that the money has been received. I also have all the detail to hand to fill in my paying-in-book stub and complete bank reconciliation for my accounts. It saves me a great deal of time and searching for records. The other benefit of having all the details to hand means that I can easily keep track of credit control and chase up late payments where appropriate.



This relates to the main project that I am working on (usually writing or product development) and the relevant tasks that need to be completed to progress this. Having it on the Mind Map keeps me focussed and makes sure that it doesn’t get put to one side during the day to day business. Occasionally, if I have several major projects ‘on the go’ I will split them out onto separate Main Branches.



A branch with my company logo on it. This covers general admin, recurring tasks, appointments, important calls, meetings, seminars, etc. Everything from my quarterly VAT return to a coaching session for a client. Of course in the case of paid for work I add an arrow or code to the Finance branch.



My work as Chief Arbiter for the World Memory Sports Council. This has sub-branches for each country that is running a competition that month. I often have to check papers and prepare some of the resources for competitions. This helps me to keep track of what is required with deadlines. I can also link expenses invoices to the finance branch where applicable.

There are many serious benefits to using a Mind Map plan in this way

  • It improves motivation - each task is highlighted as it is completed. A sea of yellow at the end of the month gives a great sense of achievement.
  • Nothing is missed as any incomplete tasks can be copied over the following month’s Mind Map.
  • New tasks can be added in context as necessary throughout the month.
  • Being on a single page, it is easy to see links between different areas of the business where I can combine tasks and avoid duplication of effort.

I never have to sit wondering what needs to be done and weigh up priorities. All it takes is a glance at the Mind Map plan. I am convinced that this simple application saves me hours in increased productivity. I just use it for business but the same principle can be applied to running a busy family or social life. The example below is based on a real month. Some business sensitive areas have been made more general to protect confidentiality.

May MM Plan


That’s it for this month. Look out for the next newsletter at the beginning of July and feel free to be in touch in the meantime.

My contact details are here.

Best Wishes