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  1. Planning with Sketchnotes
  2. The Benefits of Planning with Sketchnotes
  3. Recap
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The Benefits of Planning with Sketchnotes

Sketchnote idea mapping offers a variety of benefits:


VISUALLY REPRESENT the elements of a project: tasks, dates, people, discussions, and reference information.


GET A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE on your plans by adding visual detail. Sketchnote plans can reveal patterns you may not see otherwise.


ZOOM IN AND OUT of the overview and details of a project in the same planning sketchnote.


EMBED PROJECT DETAILS in your memory using visual elements like icons, typography, drawings, and containers as you create your plans.


USE FOR TEAMS because lots of data are packed into visual images that are shared between team members or posted for team review.

Practical Uses

Here are some ways to use sketchnotes as a planning tool:

★Task Lists

Using visuals to amplify your tasks helps connect you with what you have to get done. Try using some of these action icons to visualize your tasks:

Icons are an effective way to represent all the things you have to get done.

ATTORNEY DAVID SPARKS uses sketchnotes to plan his court hearings. He creates check boxes for those present, has dedicated space for the hearing and ruling details, and a check box if he has to notify all parties. The left sidebar is reserved for adding notes during or after the hearing.


Using the check box system and other task icons provided in this chapter, create a task list for your day, week, or weekend. Where appropriate, include diagrams with task details in your list for reference.


How did the sketchnoted task list work? Did you remember more about each task by adding visuals, tike an icon or a drawing? If you added a detailed diagram, did it help you complete the task more effectively?

★ Planning Your Future

You can use sketchnotes to review your past and plan your future. Sacha Chua uses sketchnotes to project her life five years in the future as part of an Alphachimp course she participated in.

With her name, portrait, and a future year in a central hub, Sacha creates clear declarative statements of her five-year future self around it.

IVAN SEYMUS creates his own five-year plan sketchnote:


Think about your goals five years in the future, and then roughly sketchnote those ideas on a sheet of paper.

Place your name and a date five years in the future at the center of the page, with attributes surrounding your name including items like work, life, family, relationships, travel, and any other important items in your life of the future.

Stay hose, using drawings, icons, and bold lettering to emphasize written text. Describe yourself as if you are already living out the attributes you wish to achieve five years in the future,


How did it feel to sketchnote goals for your future life? Did you spot any patterns in your goals sketchnote that you didn't see before? How does seeing this future life plan regularly impact your daily choices?

★ Planning Trips

Sketchnotes are α fun way to do your travel planning with visual flair.


Place the destination at the top of the page, filling in the remaining page with flight details, hotel location, reservation details, ground travel information, maps, and a list of the sights you'd like to see.

Use icons to identify each element, bold type to break out key sections, dividers to break up sections, and arrows to connect key information.

Marem Flores uses sketchnoting as a visual tool for planning family vacations. Her entire family discusses vacation details, and then together they build a collaborative sketchnote of their upcoming trip.

Review your sketchnote travel plan before you depart each day as a quick refresher. Use it to, remember small details and planned activities that you might otherwise forget to include.

  • Now that you've seen how to sketchnote your travel plans before you leave, be sure to read Chapter 6 for ideas on sketchnoting trip experiences during your travels.


Diagram of a Sketchnote Travel Plan

Here's a diagram of my travel sketchnote plan for SXSW Interactive 2015:

Sketchnote travel plans help you see the big picture while providing the details you need for specific activities.


Before your next trip, take some time to gather the flight, hotel, city sights, maps, and any other relevant trip information.

Create a sketchnote map of these elements, starting with the title at the top of the page or in the center, and placing travel details around the title. If your map gets messy, create a final sketchnote.

When finished, review the plan before you travel Take a photo of the map for yourself or to share with family members or colleagues.


How did this visual travel plan work as a reference? Did you get a better overview of the trip plans through documenting them visually? Were you more aware of daily activities because of this sketchnote plan? If your family was on the trip, did it help them understand and communicate the trip's plans more effectively?


In the grid below, use squares, circles, triangles, lines, and dots to create icons for each word related to travel. Skip ahead if you get stuck. The last row is blank so you can create your own icons.

★Project Planning

Sketchnotes are useful for planning projects large or small.


With the project's title and description at the top of a page, fill in the remaining space with project details.

Visually build the project's flow, documenting milestones, tasks, and personnel. Use drawings, hand-drawn type, and text to capture decision-maker details, roles, and tasks of each team member.

ACLAN OKUR is a consultant who plans complex factory construction projects. For his planning, Aclan uses sketchnotes because they're effective at bringing everyone together and helping projects go smoothly, and they're much more fun for everyone.

Sketchnotes and Agile Planning

Scrum is an agile methodology that offers an iterative, flexible way to manage projects using two-week sprints that include planning and daily check-ins to gauge progress, followed by a retrospective and a review to see what worked and what can be improved for the next sprint.

Sketchnotes are useful planning tools that are well suited to the agile process.

ATTHE START of an agile project, the team creates personas to describe users and how they may want to use a product being built.

Sketchnotes are a useful way to document a project's personas with bold lettering for user names, drawn user portraits, and text for the description with icons to highlight key elements. Use index cards to make your user story sketchnotes portable.

YOU CAN USE SKETCHNOTES to document the team's sprint planning and sprint reviews. Teams can use common icons for recurring items or people, and bold type to emphasize issues and more.

LAURENS BONNEMA, a Dutch agile scrum coach, uses sketchnotes for sprint planning, retrospectives, and reviews. Now his teams prefer the sketchnoted cards and notes, and even boast about them to other teams!

SKETCHNIOTES can help you document what worked well in the lost sprint, and prescribe steps that should be taken to correct what didn't work well to improve the next sprint. This process is called a retrospective.


In the grid below, use squares, circles, triangles, lines, and dots to create icons for each word related to project planning. Skip ahead if you get stuck. The last row is blank so you can create your own icons.

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