Manage Your Time with Mind Mapping

I came across this article, “Time Management Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs” by LifeOrganizers.com which lists 10 ways that entrepreneurs can use their time more effectively each day.  As a solo owner of a company, it’s difficult at times to even know the next step or action to take.  Being responsible for all aspects of the company can be a bit overwhelming; therefore, having an efficient and easy method to manage tasks, contacts, schedules, and presentations is crucial for their success.

Mind mapping is a very useful tool to organize all solo entrepreneurs’ needs to maximize productivity and creativity.  Entrepreneurs can use maps to brainstorm ideas without resorting to linear means, for example lists.  You can simply start with a central topic and then create floating topics with whatever thoughts enter your mind and then go back and filter which ones are relevant and useful.  From there, you can design your concept map creating branches, drawing relationships and using the many features available.

Mind maps are also great for presentations and a better alternative to Power Point.  With brain maps, you get to see the whole picture rather than individual slides in pieces.  You can also share the maps for collaboration and add/subtract content at any time during the presentation with just a click.

Since staying on task and maintaining a consistent work schedule can be challenging, especially when working from home, entrepreneurs can generate mind maps with their daily schedules and contacts.  At the end of the day, you can go back to the map with the current day’s schedule and edit it for the next day easily.

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“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”

Now is the time of year when everyone is running to the gym and trying various methods to eat healthy.  Summer is almost upon us which means bathing suits, shorts, and tank tops!  Are you ready?  You know the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  So, what better way to organize meal plans and exercise regimens then with mind mapping.

I see people at the gym with their pen and paper making long lists of their reps, sets, and exercises, and I know people as well that jot down their meals and calories to stay on track with their diet.  This approach is linear and doesn’t allow for creativity and fresh ideas.  Plus, it’s hard to see the whole picture when you have a page or two of lists.

Mind mapping is a great way to organize your exercises and meal planning/macronutrients.  You can use colors, priority markers, and other features when designing your map to maximize your creative potential and maybe even generate more excitement and motivation in achieving your goals as well.  Perhaps you are working with a trainer.  You can share your maps with your coach simply by emailing them.

Here is an example of a map for meal planning:

Mind Mapping Helps Students to Write With More Ease and Joy

When it comes to writing assignments, many students struggle with generating ideas, coming up with beginning sentences, and even developing supporting sentences.  It seems that the initial start of the paper can feel stagnant and difficult which ultimately leads to procrastination and discouragement.  Sometimes the challenge is just getting started and then everything flows well after, or it can be difficult throughout the entire process.  In any case, mind mapping is a very useful tool for brainstorming fresh, new ideas, providing the structure for the content of the paper, and equally important, igniting a spark in the student so writing feels fun and enjoyable.

The great thing about mind mapping is that students of all ages can use this tool.  MindMaple has a straightforward user interface.  It has the structure in place for beginners and a lot of room for creative freedom for more advanced users.  There are many features and colors available for students to maximize their creative potential and write their best paper possible.

Here are the steps students can take to use mind mapping for writing assignments:

Step 1:  Begin with a central topic.  Usually, this will be the assignment topic given by the teacher or created by the students.  From there, create floating topics around the central topic with ideas that just seem to pop up.  They may appear random but just allow the ideas to flow and put them on the map.  Make sure at this point to refrain from drawing branches.  This step is just floating topics for free thinking.

Step 2:  This step is for filtering the floating topics and deciding which ones to use for the paper.   The narrowing of the floating topics will begin to bring clarity and structure for how the paper will be written.

Step 3:  This is the step where branches are drawn to show relationships between topics and set up the structure for the paragraphs of the paper.  Students can also begin to use the colors and features to make the map more effective and pleasing to the eye.

Step 4:  Now students can begin to pull topics and subtopics from the map and create the initial and subsequent sentences for the paper.

The Benefits of Divergent Versus Convergent Brainstorming

I came across this interesting article today, “The Power of Divergent and Convergent Thinking Guide Your Group’s Thinking Process to New Heights of Productivity,” from SmartStorming.  It discusses two types of thinking that are equally important in brainstorming and collaboration.

The first, divergent thinking is considered “thinking out the box” where the imagination runs wild and possibilities are endless.  This allows for fresh and innovative ideas to come into play.  The second, convergent thinking is more of a narrowing or filtering process of analyzing and judging the ideas to find the best ones to use in relation to the task at hand.  This is considered “in the box thinking.”

When mind mapping, both divergent and convergent thinking are used as well in creating maps.  Mind mapping allows you to brain dump all your ideas on the map initially and then, after, be able to evaluate and organize which ideas to use.

One suggestion would be to start with a central topic and then add floating topics around the central topic with whatever thoughts come to mind even if they seem random.  Then, you can decide which subtopics to keep and begin to draw branches, group topics, and create subtopics.  This way you make sure to use divergent brainstorming by not drawing branches right at first, since that would lead you into convergent thinking.

Introducing MindMaple Lite

Hello mind mappers!

We are very excited to announce today the launch of MindMaple Lite, a new free version of MindMaple, our software for mind mapping, concept mapping, and brainstorming. Previously, we offered a free trial of MindMaple that expired after 30 days. With the launch of MindMaple Lite, users can keep a permanent version of MindMaple on your desktop for free.

MindMaple Lite offers the same interface as the full version of MindMaple, allowing you to map concepts and organize ideas visually. We are committed to offering our users products that encourage creativity and insight, and our goal in creating MindMaple Lite is to ensure that everyone has access to the benefits of mind mapping.

Of course, there are some differences between MindMaple Lite and MindMaple full version. The full version offers a broader range of options for the design of your map, including numerous preset color themes, backgrounds, clip-art, and design options for branches, boundaries, and arrows. The full version of MindMaple has greater export flexibility, allowing you to export your maps to Microsoft Office or save them as .pdf files, and offers you the option to encrypt your maps for security. We also have some exciting features planned for future releases of MindMaple!

To ensure that all new users have the ability to enter our mind mapping contest, we’ve decided to extend the deadline for entry until June 1. We’re looking for the most creative mind map and the prize is a $250 gift card to Amazon.com! So be sure to send your maps to the the email office@mindmaple.com and like the MindMaple facebook page.