I learned some tricks about brainstorming in Getting Things Done. I actually used the idea of "mind-mapping" to think through a project. This process helped me come up with some ideas I had never considered. That part has worked for me.
The author of GTD also describes the "natural planning process," which moves the planner through five steps:
1. Defining purpose and principles
2. Outcome visioning
3. Brainstorming (as I mentioned above)
5. Identifying next actions
These steps naturally occur, he says, as you plan out anything -- from an evening at the movies to a building project. When we bypass this process, we just get bogged down. Sounds plausible to me.
I still haven't put the whole picture together, but I'm still reading. So far, it seems like stuff that I can really implement.
My family got our Christmas tree put up today, and I guess we went through the natural planning process, even if I didn't notice it. I had a great time remembering the ornaments and old times. I tried to worship some in the process, too. Go Jesus!