If you aren’t familiar with mind mapping yet, perhaps it’s time to learn about it.
In short, mind mapping is a marvelous method of planning, thinking and discovering ideas, tasks, concepts, strategies and goals.
More specifically, mind mapping is a drawn diagram that you use to generate new ideas, structure your thoughts and the like. Taking a key concept placed in the middle, you diagram out words, ideas and tasks in a radiating circle. It really helps with the visualization process!
In a nutshell, it’s a way to utilize the right side of your brain (responsible for creativity) when planning stuff… and I’m talking about anything imaginable like Web sites, products, projects, services, to-do lists, concepts, . For some people (like me), it goes much faster than writing it down in lists, phrases or full sentences.
After doing some mind mapping, you will find that the big picture becomes much clearer to you, even down to the most minute detail. An additional use is that it’s good for a study aid, in working out organizational problems… or actually any issue.
It gives you freedom to think, not constricting you to any one method or linear way of planning. The freedom means, in my view, that you can come up with new and different ideas — ones that may not have come to you in any other way.
You simply write down a central idea. Then you think up other related ideas that radiate out from that center. As you put these additional thoughts down on paper, online or offline, I think you’ll find you will understand and remember all these points much better.
Another neat thing about mind mapping is that you can use your own personal symbols and designs to stand for whatever you want. Besides that, you can add colors, arrows and so on to your heart’s content. Get creative!
Offline, I personally like to use brown package paper of a decent size (ex., 100x70cm).
Online, I prefer professional software for my mind mapping endeavors… Mindjet’s MindManager.
Occasionally, though, I changed recently, however, as I found some really good free programs available.
To students I recommended (and still do) Freemind, an open source software. But I while ago I’ve found an online mind mapping application that’s really good — and from a German company! — called mindmeister.com. It’s free to sign up and create a handful of mind maps, and it has the standard features of the more sophisticated MindManager software you otherwise have to pay $$$ for.
As I said, this is really priceless for planning out Web sites, products, events… the list is endless! :-) You can brainstorm, strategize and plan in so much more dynamic ways.
This is good news for those of you who need that extra spark for your planning or brainstorming. And the Mindmeister Internet portal is excellent because you have your maps accessible anywhere in the world and can work on them whenever and wherever you want. (Plus, you can share them & collaborate with others.)