I’m a pretty digital guy, preferring to type over hand-write or, better yet, dictate and have it auto-transcribed! There’s times, though, where I prefer to fall back to my old trusty whiteboard where I can free-form brain-dump and connect my ideas as they come.

 


old-skool Mind Map of DQ Studios and QuiKeys web presence.

I first discovered “mind mapping” many moons ago in Junior High but didn’t use it much with the exception of big-picture thinking for important or complex projects.

Thankfully, there’s an app for that now 🙂 Actually, there’s bunches of apps both for iPhone and your computer making mind mapping one of my most valued and useful everyday techniques.

What is “Mind Mapping?”

Don’t worry: nobody’s gonna stick electrodes in your skull and measure your intelligence … unless you want them to I guess.

Think of mind mapping as a whiteboard on steroids. It’s an awesome way for visual thinkers like me to brainstorm and formalize, organize and share ideas. Today’s mind mapping software goes beyond the whiteboard in allowing more organized and collaborative methods to share in the digital age.

 

 

Why Mind Map?

Mind mapping is a visually stimulating way to engage both sides of your brain and for visual thinkers like me, this is a good thing 🙂 I’ve heard it was used by some of amazing minds of the past including Michelangelo, Mark Twain and Leonardo da Vinci.

Good enough for them; good enough for me.

Here are three major benefits I’ve found of mind mapping over traditional note-taking: clarity of thought, increased productivity and collaboration.

Clarity

By its nature, mind mapping requires you to constantly “connect the dots” between your ideas. Adding visual cues as simple as the branches of a tree help relate ideas and realize those that don’t belong. Compare this to note-taking where you can easily fall into the “zombie-zone” of writing with no comprehension of thought relationships. Seeing your ideas literally connect in front of your eyes is an amazingly simple yet powerful way to gain clarity of thought.

 


Competitive Analysis created with MindNode for iPhone.

 

Productivity

With increased clarity comes a decrease in time required to formalize thoughts and arrange ideas. Mind mapping software magnifies the time savings: instead of writing down lists in a typical text editor and then cutting/pasting them into a proper order, you can brain-dump in your mind map and simply drag your ideas around until everything is in its place.

Mind mapping’s “drag & drop” methodology has the added benefit of preventing copy/paste errors. What sound like a “little” time savings becomes an easier, more intuitive, faster and less error-prone method of materializing and organizing your thoughts.

Collaboration

There’s a couple of great web-based mind mapping apps out there, one of which is MindMeister. It strikes a great balance of being super easy to use yet amazingly powerful under the hood. Besides the usual text-based entries, you can easily add icons, images, live URL links and even to-do’s with email reminders. These features make your digital mind maps not only more visually interesting but web-ready for my favorite feature ….

My favorite and most powerful feature of MindMeister is its ability to share your mind maps with anyone around the world and simultaneously live-edit.

Two brains are better than one, and the more the merrier when I’m working on any project worthy of brain-time. It’s super-easy to invite anyone to work on your mind map and collaborative tools include real-time color-coded editing, assignment of tasks to any collaborator, and a funky history play-back system where you can easily see who made what changes when.

MindMeister automatically saves every change which is great peace of mind. With a paid subscription you can also export to common mind mapping formats making it easy to back up and share with most every mind mapping software.

MindMeister isn’t perfect: I don’t like the limitation of dragging/arranging only one thought at a time. But its benefits are many and reason enough to have it become my main mind mapping software. You can sign up for a free account and create up to 3 mind maps. If you love it and find it as indispensable as I do, you can purchase a premium license for unlimited maps and more export options.

 

Blog Post outline created with MindMeister Free

 

What’s Mind Mapping good for?

Best part: you can get the many benefits of mind mapping for literally anything you can think of. Here’s just a few things I’ve used it for this past month:

+ prioritized todo lists
+ presentation slides
+ note-taking
+ QuiKeys competitive analysis
+ brainstorming
+ goal setting
+ blog writing outline
+ book writing outline
+ QuiKeys training

Collaborative efforts include:

+ QuiKeys development
+ QuiKeys trouble-shooting
+ real-time Q&A during 1-on-1 Omakase phone consultations

Try it! You’ll like it!

I wish I had mind-mapping software when I was in school. Actually, I wish I just had the internet when I was in school …. heh heh …. maybe I would’ve done better??

Who am I kidding? Nah! 😀

Take mind-mapping for a spin! What have you got to lose? I hope you’ll find it as beneficial as I do and reap the rewards of added clarity, productivity and collaboration for all your projects.