Mapping For Mental Clarity

07 July 2008, by A. Cedilla

Keeping your mind fresh and your ideas original is a valuable edge in the competitive world of business. The daily grind of running a business, however, can leave you drained. If you ever played around with your ideas as a kid, using crayons and paper, to draw out your dreams and future, you may have done some mindmapping without knowing it.

 

A term popularized by Tony Buzan , mindmapping is basically doodling with a purpose. It’s a brainstorm on paper, a mental cyclone revolving around one central idea. While the term itself is new, the idea of it has been around for centuries.

 

Mindmapping can:

  • Clear your head by letting you generate and capture ideas you can see on paper, or pixel.
  • Help plot out possible futures, organizing ideas and passing thoughts that may be the seeds of something good
  • Plan your next move, or possible moves, depending on where you want to go
  • Play around towards a goal

 

What you may’ve done as a kid with colored pencils has been upgraded for the 21st century. Freemind is the grown-up, computer based version of your happy childhood scribbles. If you’re not the type to park in front of the PC, you can still go with the art pencils and unlined paper, but this program has features that are a step beyond, adapted to the computer and internet age.

 

Freemind is free software for creating and viewing mind-maps.

The issue with old-school planning is it can be so linear. Of course, step-by-step, scheduled plans have their strengths but the rigidity of such planning styles don’t usually leave much room for creativity and play. Boredom sets it, and planning for every contingency can drown you in minutiae and trivia, squeezing out other possibilities.

 

Mindmapping can help free you from that. And Freemind can help you share your mindmaps in ways that pen and paper can’t.

 

Freemind’s advantages:

– It comes in 13 languages.

– You can let anyone who has the same program view your mindmap, helping people get on the same track, or at least see the other person’s viewpoint.

 

Among other things, its mindmaps can:

– Be exported to HTML, and include HTML links to files on your computer or to sites on the internet

– Be integrated with Word or Outlook, allowing copy-pasting from plaintext or RTF.

– Import your favorites from IE.

 

There are also other software available on the internet that can offer similar benefits, alternative free programs like Thinkgraph, Kdissert and VYM. Look them up and see which one best fits you.

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