I had an inspiration tonight as I was working on my list of getting things done -- my GTD. And that inspiration was one word: mindmapping. (illustrated above).>>
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making.If you are like me and you think you may be losing it, a mind map can come in handy. I'll use any trick to make the old noggin work as I would have it perform.
This happenstance came about because I am so pleased that I have learnt to utilize my on line to do list at Wallnote to very good effect. I did that by breaking up all my tasks into so many projects. And to facilitate that I headed different categories on my lists with this simply tag "P:" --where the "P" stands for project. This is a GTD trick. "P:' for Project, "C:" for Context (ie: where the tasks are located) and "S:" for Status (ie: where your task mastering is at).
At the moment, give or take my fanciful indulgence, I am "working on" 17 projects. These vary -- trust me on this -- from the mundane to the profound. So any extra help I can get... I'll take it.
Thus: Mind Mapping. I learnt the relevance of Mind Mapping because in my GTD adventures, especially with the Hipster PDA I learnt the free flowing improvisational joy of a blank 5x3 index card to doodle jot my thoughts upon. I am talking about thinking and remembering. I have been looking for tricks and visualising concepts like you do when you mind map is a way to circumvent my cognitive problems: aphasia, dyslexia, forgetfulness...all elements associated with my Fibromyalgic condition Amongst sufferers, this cognitive condition goes by the nick name of "Fibro-fog". Yes we do suffer so from a certain gah gahness..
So once I thought about doing a bit of mind mapping before I turn in for the night I went looking on the web for assistance. And lo! there are programs aplenty to help you mind map like a cartographer. But I settled on Free Mind:
So you want to write a completely new metaphysics? Why don't you use FreeMind? You have a tool at hand that remarkably resembles the tray slips of Robert Pirsig, described in his sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance called Lila. Do you want to refactor your essays in a similar way you would refactor software? Or do you want to keep personal knowledge base, which is easy to manage? Why don't you try FreeMind? Do you want to prioritize, know where you are, where you've been and where you are heading, as Stephen Covey would advise you? Have you tried FreeMind to keep track of all the things that are needed for that?So I'm trying it and it works in a fun sort of way: plenty of colours, widgets and layout fiddles to keep your doodling animated.
And this is the result of my night's endeavours:
Click on the image to see it big time. I am very proud of my map -- the map of my mind. The fact that I can so easily share it with you is awesome is it not? It may look like a cross section of a herbivore's intestines but there's method in this crude anatomy.
And Free Mind was a joy to work with. It was easy to get the hang of the setup and options so that later as I map some more I'll get more proficient at the software.
You don't have to use a computer program of course. You can mind map with pen or pencil (Nonetheless I have this image of a Mind Map 'art' gallery....I'm sure they exist, like everything else, on the web.Examples: here, here,here, especially, and finally, here)
The topic of my map was the production schedule for Ratbag Radio and this diagram is my attempt to get a handle on that.Imagine: this is me thinking!(Well, so is this text but the imagery is a new medium).I've been taken with an option like this not only as a product of my experiments with GTD; but as I lose cognitive quality -- I learn to appreciate such tricks as this to get the most out of what's there. Listening to all the podcasts I subscribe to has been instructive because I learn to appreciate the oral tradition as a way to implant ideas and information I used to take in in written form.
So mind mapping, I tell myself, is a logical progression and mastering it will be very useful for me and my brain. I'll also make a point of sharing some of my mind maps here.
If you want to rush off and invest an hour into Metacognition , here's a suggested DIY.Source: Tony Buzan who writes books with titles like The Mind Map Book.
1. Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours.
2. Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
4. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
5. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
7. Use colours – your own code – throughout the Mind Map.
8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches