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In my last post, I made a timid foray into the vast topic of chaos. Now I am ready to tackle the subject for which I prepared by exploring chaos: mindmapping. There has been plenty written on that topic on the Internet already; what follows is my own opinion, and a description of how I use mindmapping. First of all, what is it? I describe it as a hierarchically structured diagrammatic method of recording ideas.
Why bother? This is where chaos comes in. The human brain appears capable of retaining only a few ideas at a time, but is often confronted with juggling many complex ideas in order to solve a problem, or simply to find one's bearings in the daily grind of life. Although a brainful of ideas may not be chaotic in the mythological sense, it feels chaotic to the owner of the brain. That's where mind mapping can be useful.
What I recommend goes beyond the common technique of brainstorming, which is usually done with a goal in mind, the goal of collecting ideas about a specific problem or task. What is more useful than mere brainstorming, in my opinion, is getting as many ideas as possible out of the brain onto a piece of paper or a computer screen. Commentaries on the comments should be welcome. For example, thoughts like why do this? is this stupid? do I hate this? why do I hate this? and what do I want for lunch? are as legitimate in my kind of mind map, as more writing-oriented or task-oriented ideas, say, 13 notes on the topic of the future of blogging after 2017. Mind mapping can become the remedy, or the first step of the remedy, for any state of confusion or merely a vague psychological malaise, as well as a challenging productivity task.
How do I do it? A favorite method is pen on paper, usually the blank back side of spam faxes folded in half and gathered on a mini-clipboard. I draw circles starting from a central hub (often the date and time), loosely organized by connecting lines. I often fax the completed mind maps to my computer, where they can be reviewed and reorganized. Just yesterday I was directed to a new website, bubbl.us, which makes it very easy to do the same technique online and onscreen. There is also some great software out there, of which I have purchased licenses for NovaMind and Eastgate's Tinderbox. in another post I will write more about how I use these programs for mind mapping.Permanent Link to This Entry | | | Technorati Tag: Mindmapping
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