Productivity and GTD

Brainstorming or Mind Mapping?

AUTHOR: David Torné
Blog tasks

The choice between one or the other seems somewhat fallacious; each of them has its time and usefulness. But the truth is that when you are ready to start a natural planning process, it is an opportunity to unleash your creativity and let ideas emerge without the slightest hint of critical sense.

Personally, having a graphical support and guidelines with which to structure the content, allows me to focus and channel the subject. In a brainstorming session, I have developed the habit of unleashing my lateral thinking; what starts seeming like magnesia can become gymnasia. I have such a cavernous and chaotic mind. This tool is ideal to think about topics for my blog posts, about new ways to structure my activity, or other stuff with a wide range of shades and poorly defined boundaries.

Mind maps, in turn, help me to capture on paper—also in digital format—, all the activity of a specific project. I find it much easier to list the main subjects and then break them into small pieces to see what each one involves. I can focus my attention to each of the branches, define items at every level and decompose, atomize my ideas as I go through them. It is very neat process that simplifies the collection of ideas, the identification of project components or areas, and the definition on next actions.

At first I thought it was a flaw not having space to collect what should not be part of the project, ideas that arise out of its zone of influence. They are important to know how far you have to go, and what makes natural planning a way to think about your projects in 3 dimensions, not just the two (tasks and time) of the reactive or formal planning. I solved the issue without thinking about it, just incorporating everything that comes up to the map—as it should be—, leaving aside prejudices. With no limitations, I create a whole image of the matter and subsequently I just mark what should be left outside.

I usually create my maps using software, freemind or xmind (thanks to Dani Aguayo for the suggestion), to streamline the process of creation and subsequent data processing, classifying the info with icons or colors. Sometimes I use paper, but I have to admit that I only use this resource when I feel nostalgic or want to amuse myself. If you are in a learning stage, use paper, at least the very first times, to learn the concepts. Then you can automate. If any of you know of any software to manage brainstorming sessions, please share it with us. The comments area is at your disposal.

My suggestion to Francisco Sáez and his team is to introduce a way to generate mind maps or brainstorming within FacileThings, when they build an assistant for doing natural planning.

3 comments

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented over 6 years ago Francisco Sáez

The idea of ​​allowing to plan projects using mind maps in FacileThings is something that we have in mind all along. It will come!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

The idea of ​​allowing to plan projects using mind maps in FacileThings is something that we have in mind all along. It will come!

76fef00378b323abf7f83ce0ad2ece2a
Commented over 6 years ago Brain Cutlery

I'm a visual thinker so I can't get enough of visual techniques like mind mapping.

Recently I've taken to sketchnoting, as per Mike Rohde's "sketchnote handbook". Although it's designed for note taking, I've found it really useful for mind-mapping activities too.

You can see my efforts at braincutlery.co.uk/sketchnotes/ (to quote Mike Rohde, it's about "ideas, not art...")

76fef00378b323abf7f83ce0ad2ece2a Brain Cutlery

I'm a visual thinker so I can't get enough of visual techniques like mind mapping.

Recently I've taken to sketchnoting, as per Mike Rohde's "sketchnote handbook". Although it's designed for note taking, I've found it really useful for mind-mapping activities too.

You can see my efforts at braincutlery.co.uk/sketchnotes/ (to quote Mike Rohde, it's about "ideas, not art...")

F0a19f7ab74aad9342505c98050e7b43
Commented over 6 years ago Winston A

I love how you describe the creative process; it is a great example of how to use divergent and then convergent thinking. I personally want to apply your tools to my creative thinking, as I hope they will leave me with more actionable conclusions. As for tools, I love what I call the google docs of diagramming: Lucidchart.com, which I use in teams for my mind mapping. Check out their "six thinking hats" template; so useful for brainstorming. Thanks!

F0a19f7ab74aad9342505c98050e7b43 Winston A

I love how you describe the creative process; it is a great example of how to use divergent and then convergent thinking. I personally want to apply your tools to my creative thinking, as I hope they will leave me with more actionable conclusions. As for tools, I love what I call the google docs of diagramming: Lucidchart.com, which I use in teams for my mind mapping. Check out their "six thinking hats" template; so useful for brainstorming. Thanks!

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