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Mindmapping – why it works

June 12, 2009

One of my ‘hidden’ weapons when planning or just trying to get my head around anything is mindmapping. I know Doug True is a big fan of this. It all started in the mid ’70s when I attended a course out at UBC and was introduced to some of Tony Buzan’s books. His viewpoints on how our mind works were intriguing. So began the journey into using mindmaps. I still have one of my first mindmaps that summarizes a meeting. I can’t remember the details but from that mindmap there is certainly the expression that it was a good and productive meeting. They say the ultimate in mindmapping is to create one without words.

Then the personal computer age began and with my first Macintosh (LC – colour) a program called Inspiration appeared. I used that program for years but it moved into the elementary and secondary school realm and became less of a tool for me. Mindet MindManager is what I use now and it is extremely powerful and quick. There are a number of others and it is more a personal choice than anything else.

The question is why does something like this work. We tend to think in linear terms. A + B + C = D. We really push our minds into a box and quickly get into a rut of frustration when we try to deal with problems. A mindmap lets me move out of that box. By brainstorming and creating simple patterns, lines and text and using colour you are able to explore much more that you originally anticipated. One thing I must emphasize here is using colour. Colour can add an element that words can’t and using it expands on what you are attempting to say and solve.

Here is an abbreviated mindmap for The Mount Lehman Show. Any one of the solid coloured boxes can be drilled down to a further level. If you have never tried this before it does take some getting used to because it is so different. But don’t let that stop you from trying.

The ML Show

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Dieringer permalink
    June 13, 2009 5:05 am

    Did you look at other mind-mapping programs? If so, what sold you on Mindjet? [you can reply via email]



  2. June 13, 2009 10:35 pm

    I’ve also been a Tony Buzan fan. I try to use Omnigraffle to do MindMaps instead of taking notes, but sometimes it’s for a group, and they prefer something that’s just text. Hey, I wonder if someone could convince Evernote to add object graphic tools…

  3. Matt Fagala permalink
    July 1, 2009 1:36 pm

    I’m a big Mindmapping fan too. Been using it for a few years. Curio and Mindjet are my software packages of choice, for personal organization. Mindjet’s online web version and are also good online alternatives that offer easy collaboration.

  4. July 6, 2009 4:21 pm

    Hey Gene:
    Been a heavy user of mind mapping for some time. I use it for every project in which I’m involved.

    Why? Mind mapping is a very quick way of getting information across. The fact that it’s visual appeals to many people who process information that way. And because it’s usually on one page, it’s a handy reference guide.

    But mostly, mind mapping is a great way to organize your thoughts and actions. By putting together a map, you can generate an idea, define its purpose or goal, and then set out a course of action and tasks that you can refer to continually when you’re in danger of getting lost in it all.

    So far I’ve used it for consulting projects (so everyone is on the same page), business planning, marketing planning, strategy formation, innovation, writing, book production, website planning –even meeting agendas and results listing. And I’m finding more uses all the time.

    MindJet’s Mind Manager is the big guy on the block for mindmapping, and probably the most comprehensive, but there are many others available. Also, you can create and share mindmaps online in the open source Mindmeister, which also integrates with most of the mindmapping software out there.
    Tony Wanless


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