Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Mind Mapping

If you are looking for a decent mind mapping application for Mac OS X, MindNode is an application you should definitely consider. I stumbled across MindNode a few days ago while browsing iusethis.com, and after using it since then I have to say I really enjoy it.

In my opinion, there are three key skills that professionals really need:

  1. Being more effective (doing the right things) and more efficient (doing things the right way); and

  2. Collecting and managing information effectively and efficiently; and

  3. Brainstorming and thinking creatively.

In my mind, these three skills are kind of like the legs on a three-legged stool. You need all three to be really solid.

I adopted a “Getting Things Done” (GTD) approach for the first skill listed above, as described first here and then in this follow-up. I think that the use of OmniFocus and the GTD methodology has helped me to improve myself in this key area.

To help address the second key skill, I need to find and start using an information aggregator, like EagleFiler, Yojimbo, or Together. The problem is that I can’t find one that I really like. Each of these has some features that I like. Each of them also has some stuff I don’t like. I know that no application will be an exact fit, but I’m still having a problem getting over the stuff I don’t like. If anyone has any suggestions for other applications of this type that I should evaluate, please let me know.

The addition of MindNode helps me with the brainstorming/creative thinking skill. Until now, I hadn’t really been able to find an application that helped with this. Having settled upon TextMate as my text editor of choice, I can use TextMate for text-based brainstorming, but sometimes a graphical mind map is the best tool. The problem that I have with brainstorming and mind mapping is that I tend to pre-judge the ideas. The real purpose behind brainstorming is just getting all the ideas out of your head and onto the paper or mind map, and not to evaluate them. Evaluating them is supposed to come later. I’m hoping that the more I use mind mapping the better I’ll get about freely listing the ideas.

Anyone else have any other suggestions to helping to improve brainstorming and creative thinking skills?

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