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MInd-mapping vs. regular old outlining for academia

Hi all,

I'm an academic and have been working on a GTD-style overhaul of my work environment for a few months now--taking the gradual approach so that each piece can really become a habit. I'm up to the point of formalizing project planning/managment. I've incorporated the following software into my worklife to great effect: Quicksilver, MailTags and MailActOn, Path Finder and DevonThink. All apps I learned about here (so thanks for that). I'm also really making use of ICal and that's working great. I seem to have a working system that I trust and that feels organic to me.

As the next piece, I've been playing around with mind mapping software for a couple of weeks--I've tried several (FreeMind, CMaps, MyMind, Intuition, NovaMind and MindManager). I like the interface adn general feel of MIndManager best. The problem is, I'm not entirely convinced that it's significantly better than just a regular outline in a word processor. While it's nice to have the visual pieces and to see it as a wholistic image, much of that can be achieved with a good outline (particularly using Word where you could draw arrows or whatever between pieces). I also find that adding the little images is mostly a time sink rather than somethign that really helps me think about the project (I've done three pretty detailed maps for different projects so far.)

So, my question is whether any of you have found that mind mapping really does have siginficant advantages for you over a regular outline and if so, what those advantages are. Similarly, if you tried and abandoned mind mapping, what led you to leave it?

I should say that I'm not a huge outline user in general--I tend to use them for at most 3 levels of thinking at the beginnign of a project, but once I start the next phase (usually the writing), I don't much use whatever I generated as an outline.

Thanks in advance




An Oblique Strategy:
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