43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Open Thread: Mac Mind Mapping, and how you use it

I've recently revived my interest in doing mind mapping as a way to capture ideas and plan out projects.

Back in the day, I'd use Inspiration (which registration regrettably died a few years ago), and in more recent times I've played with free apps like My Mind and FreeMind, as well as tested more costly apps like NovaMind and MindManager.

If you also like to mind map, I'm curious to hear which of these you and your Mac are using, how you're using it, and what made you choose one app over another. Got a preference? Prefer regular old paper and markers? Using lots of images in your mind maps? Which pay app is most worth the dough, and why?

And for folks who are new to mind mapping, here's a few links to get you started:

  • Mind map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "A mind map (or mind-map) is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making."
  • Mind Maps [peterussell.com] - "Mind maps were developed in the late 60s by Tony Buzan as a way of helping students make notes that used only key words and images. They are much quicker to make, and because of their visual quality much easier to remember and review. The non-linear nature of mind maps makes it easy to link and cross-reference different elements of the map."
  • Learn how to draw Mind Maps with Mind Tools - "Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, often taking up one side of paper. This helps you to make associations easily. If you find out more information after you have drawn the main Mind Map, then you can easily integrate it with little disruption."
  • how to make a mind map - "Your initial words and images stimulate associations. Attach whatever word or image is triggered. Allow the 'random movement of your thought; you do not have to ‘finish’ one branch before moving on"
  • Uses of Mind Maps [peterussell.com] - "Whenever you are confronted by a problem -- professional or personal -- mind maps help you see all the issues and how they relate to each other. They also help others quickly get an overview of how you see different aspects of the situation, and their relative importance."
Morgan's picture

I've bounced around the mind...

I've bounced around the mind map space for several years and find them key for many things including

-- note taking

-- personal brainstorming

-- organizing / refining my thoughts on a single topic

-- Meeting facilitation -> I've had great experience using a mind map interactively with a group capturing all their ideas, grouping them interactively with the people and then ranking them. Really powerful tool in that manner.

I'm currently using Novamind. I moved over from freemind because it can export to Omni Outliner and it is a bit prettier. I am surprised nobody has mentioned this exporting, given all the kGTD folks here. :) (Although, ironically I moved to Novamind as part of a migration to kGTD and couldn’t give up syncing to my PDA that I have with the older life balance, but that is for another thread).

And novamind uses linkback so I can import my omnigraffle pictures into the map and throw the maps into Curio idea spaces as I collect my thoughts.

I haven't used Omnigraffle's mindmapping stencil because it is slower --> the benefits to a mind map tool comes when it is a quick as quick silver is to Merlin. Although the new outline features in OmniG are nice, they are not quite there in my mind and intuitive for me, so I've stuck with a dedicated mind-mapping tool that does the job well.

In my mind concept mapping is different to mind mapping. I'd agree with David and Kirk R. Concept mapping I would use to really dive into the complexity, the mind map is to capture quickly and recall easily.

As you might be able to tell, I capture a lot of my ideas visually -- so mind maps were a natural tool for me. Your mileage may vary.

-- Morgan




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »