Written by James McDonald

October 20, 2010

I have recently finished reading a book on mind maps by Tony Buzan.

In my working life I’m constantly getting deluged by different projects, or goals, all with multiple dependencies and when I try to get them straight by opening a word document and putting it `down on paper’ I get to the point where I just can’t happily describe what I’m trying to achieve using bulleted lists, power point slides or even project planning software.

The problem is the ideas (well at least my ideas) come in dribs and drabs, I don’t know what’s important and so my plan soon degenerates into what I would call `recursive thought lock’ I go over and over the same points until I’m chewing fat that doesn’t need chewing and missing details that should be included.

I’m finding that Mind Maps help. As my thoughts blossom, and jump from one related area to another I can capture it electronically using a tool called FreeMind. Using Mind Maps I’m no longer tied to a sequential list and fretting over which bullet point goes first.

For example here is a mind map of me going to bed:

Go to bed

As you can see once you start with a central idea, there may be a number of things that will pop up and you can capture which you may have forgotten or overlooked if you just wrote a list.

One thing I like about it is the ability to include images. For example: If you say the word Cow, quite probably your mind’s eye displays a picture of Cow not just the word `Cow’. So using images in mind maps can be a better, more natural way of getting information from grey matter to page and in aiding retention.

For me Mind Mapping is a paradigm I will use to become more effective in my daily life.


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