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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."
Scott's picture

I've always sort of envied...

I've always sort of envied people who use mind-mapping. It just looks like it has to make you smarter and more efficient and there's just something sexy about it. I remember purchasing Tony Buzan's book back in the 80s, and I used to try out all the different MM apps for Mac. But I could never get my mind around it. The charts just always made me confused. Not clearer.

But in the end, I've never found anything that works better for my particular brain that Word's Outline feature. I know: cringe, hey. But it's how I wrote 3 books and the scripts for numerous audio CDs. I also use it for brain storming about other things besides money making and biz. It's the fastest method I've found. Here's how I use it:

•• Open Word, change to Outline view. •• Set Header 1, Header 2, Header 3, Header 4, and "Demote to Body Text" with simple keyboard shortcuts. For each of the Header, I use Command-1, 2, 3, and 4. For bodytext, I use F1. •• Now type every idea, as fast as they come. Separate each with a Return. If it helps, attach a level to the thoughts with the above keyboard shortcut, but otherwise you can do that later. •• Every now and again, go back and start dragging different lines (ideas) under Headers. It's not necessary as you go, but if it helps, I'll do it as I go.

That's it. Sure isn't pretty, but it keeps my mind clear and the thoughts flowing.

Still. You Mind Mappers make me envious.




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