In a comment to an earlier post, Claire Tompkins wrote: "I've tried mind mapping a little bit but I got lost quickly in a forest of lines and words. I found it difficult to keep the map organized enough to remember what I'd written and where. Could you give a brief explanation of how you do it? Thanks!"
I think having a look at Tony Buzan website, www.mind-mapping.co.uk and better still reading his book The Mind Map book, would be a great starting point.
I use mind maps for three main things:
- Firstly, my implementation of Getting Things Done. This was initially using FreeMind, but at the moment I am beta testing MindManager for Mac.
- Secondly, to take notes on specific issues. For instance on I may synthesize an important book I am reading, as part of my research, in the form of a mind map, or I might prepare over a period of time a synthesis on a specific theme as a mind map. In this case, I would normally follow closely Tony Buzan guidelines, creating a mind map based on individual key-words. This forces you to reformulate the content material in your own word. I very strongly recommend this to my students, as a good way to prepare for their exams.
- Thirdly, I may prepare the plan of an article or a book chapter, or prepare a lecture, as a mind map. In that case in it more a matter of one liners rather than single key-words.
A few screenshots
1. Six weeks ago I set myself a challenge, in the spirit of Eric Mack's paperless challenge. Mine involved getting up to date on Contemporary China by making a commitment to read every day at least one newspaper article on China. Here is a shot of part of the mind map. A larger version is available on www.flick.com. Please click on the picture to see it.
2. Another screenshot from work in process. This is part of a mind map about the work of American leading Sociologist Randall Collins on Geopolitical Theory. A larger version is available on www.flick.com. Please click on the picture to see it.