Do you sometimes get "big" ideas that don't get implemented? Maybe it's because they need to be fleshed out with details and tasks.
To help organize your thoughts, you can diagram them on paper, with ideas and sub-ideas branching out in different directions. But this gets quite messy looking, especially if you decide to move things around or add lots of detail.
Mind-mapping software helps control the clutter. It also enables you to share your ideas and brainstorm with others.
Mind mapping can be used for:
- Writing projects - keep track of ideas for books, theses, reports, etc.
- Business development - organize goals, assignments and tasks
- Event planning - coordinate preparations for weddings, parties, vacations, and other events
- Weighing alternatives - compare different scenarios and what-ifs
- Organizing collections of documents or web links
Here are some free sources to check out:
Mind-mapping software to download to your computer:
Freemind - Open-source softwarre with lots of features, but aimed at the single user, rather than for group brainstorming. At the freemind website you'll find screenshots, tutorials and discussion groups.
XMind - Free and paid versions of mind mapping software. The paid version has more features, of course, including customization and the ability to export your mind map to other formats.
Online mind mapping tools that work in your web browser (thus accessible from any computer connected to the Internet):
Mind42 - Comprehensive tool that allows sharing and embedding into websites
Bubbl.us - Easy to use, laid out in colored shapes. Allows sharing and embedding into websites
Gliffy - Create your own flow charts, using a selection of shapes, images and arrows.
Want to learn more about mind mapping? Visit mind-mapping.org and mindmapsearch.org.