Although recently, I've discovered something SO much better than just writing down a list of the random thoughts that float around in my brain all day. It's called mind mapping.
I've been using this process for the past week or so, and I've found that it helps me keep my random thoughts organized in a fun, colorful way. Technically it is still a brain dump, just a more outlined, visual one. Mind mapping is such a useful way to think about new ideas and simplify complex processes. You can use it for school projects, your business ideas, product ideas, blogging, or just your daily life in general.
[Tweet "Mind mapping is the new brain dump. @britthouchins"]
Making a mind map is really very simple. First you must choose whether you want to write it out on a large piece of paper or use an app. The app makes the process much faster, but writing it out by hand is good if you want to personalize it and be more precise. Listed below are a few different mind mapping apps I've found. Check them out and see which one you like!
MindNode (Mac / iOS)
XMind (Windows / Mac / Linux)
SimpleMind (Windows / Mac / iOS / Android)
If you're new to mind mapping, here are three easy steps to help you begin and get the most out of it!
1. Write and don't stop
The first step to creating your mind map is to just write anything and everything that comes to mind. Don't spend too much time on one item; just write. If an item is related to something else, keep them connected by creating branches off of the original item. If you think of a totally unrelated/different/random topic, create a new "main" stem (in MindNode, you just right click to create a new "node"). The goal is to get everything out of your system.
2. Add steps
Second, take a look at the items you've listed. Are there any goal items? To-dos? List any sub-steps needed to complete that item by branching them out. Check them off/delete them once you finish them!
3. Select your top three
The great thing about mind maps is that they give you the ability to see the big picture. The not-so-great thing about mind maps is that sometimes being able to see everything can cause you to lose focus. Once you've finished making your mind map, choose the top three items you want to focus on. If you listed sub-steps, start tackling them! A mind map used in the right way could help you even more than a to-do list.
Have you ever used a mind map? Which you you prefer: a brain dump or mind map?