A nice alternative to mind-mapping would be to carry around a little notebook and jot down ideas. Sometimes I will see something inspiring and take a picture of it with my iPhone and then I will write in my booklet “see picture,” that way if I forget what inspired me it will jumpstart my memory as to why I found that thing I took a picture of so compelling.
I also read a lot, and certain phrases or sentences I find inspiring so I will write them down and when i reference it my mind automatically pieces together this mental image of what I want to write about/create.
If I am creating something, which is usually the case, I go through a research phase. My posts usually exceed 45 minutes, because of the research portion of my project. I stress that understanding your client is an important factor, and sometimes you may want to create something but once you understand your client and your brand, you alter what you are creating OR you realize more importantly that what you are creating is not exactly right for the specific brand you are working on and may be better for another client.
I titled this post “hemp-book” & 2 hours later because the notebook I use is made of hemp (got it in California, but it is made by a company that sells them everywhere) and because the fact that I always take 45 minutes to about an hours to create my projects, sometimes even more. Dedicate yourself to the brand, not the assignment.