Whether you're writing an article, planning an event or managing an engineering project, I'm sure that you could benefit from a little more organization to help make the complex thoughts simple.
There are several solutions available that help you with thought organization, however, if you're looking to supercharge your process, you may want to consider mind mapping.
This article is not meant to bash solutions such as a to-do list software or a project management software like Asana. No. This is merely meant to show you the power of mind mapping and how it could be beneficial to your organizational routine.
Mind mapping is a method of graphically representing your thoughts and ideas related to a topic of interest. The technique allows you to note your ideas down in a visual medium and then worry about organizing them later.
A mind map forms as you begin to make a note of your central idea or topic. This is the focus of your map. From there, you start attaching primary thoughts related to the central idea.
You build upon the central idea by adding secondary ideas to those primary ideas and so on. The image below shows just one of the many possibilities that a mind map can be used for. The author of this image mapped out how users react to a particular media design.
One mind mapper even planned out his entire trip to London using a mind map. I say this to emphasize the fact that mind mapping isn't only restricted to people working in technical fields. It can be applied to everyday organizational tasks as well.
Mind mapping helps us to move away from simply 'winging it' when working on a task. Winging it usually leads to wastage of time and increases the probability of producing work of a poor quality. With mind mapping, you also ensure that you complete the tasks you set out to achieve. It basically helps you to cover all the corners of your important tasks.
Mind mapping can be done manually by drawing out your maps. However, there are several great applications that allow you to create mind maps without having to go through the hassle of drawing each section of the map manually. See below for 3 of our favorite mind mapping applications.
3 Great Mind Mapping Applications
Xmind is probably the most well-known application on this list. There are several templates available for creating the maps they desire and the overall interface is quite attractive.
Even with the free version, you'll be able to create an unlimited amount of detailed maps and map topics for a range of different types of projects.
The lack of an Android app is irksome, however, and the limitations to editing texts that are imposed on notes are a little annoying.
Currently, in order to add bullet points to a note connected to a map topic, users must first add these bullet points in a word-processing application and then copy the text over to the Xmind note.
While the text associated with various ideas included in a map should be kept as short as possible, it still helps to have at least a half-decent text-editing tool to expand on the ideas.
Mindomo allows advanced functionality even with its free version. Unlike Xmind, Mindomo offers an intuitive real-time collaboration option in the free version and allows the user to create presentations.
The text editor included for the notes also puts it ahead of Xmind. Mindomo allows its users to add bullet points to the notes among several other options.
This mind-mapping app doesn't allow the creation of more than 40 topics in its free version. It is quite easy to exceed the 40-topic limit by mapping simple processes.
This means that if you choose to make Mindomo your mind-mapping software, you may need to seriously consider going for the paid version right off the bat.
Mind mapping is a great way to help people visualize their thoughts and reduce process-related confusion. In addition, there are several great apps out there that can assist you with the process. Consider working mind mapping into your productivity tools. It can seriously help you to save some precious time in the long run.