MindMaps.... Are They REALLY that helpful?

43 replies
I've been seeing mindmaps as a topic of discussion since I've been on the Warrior Forum.

I still don't see the point, or rather, I don't see the benefit to having a mind map vs. constructing a regular plan of action.

What do you use them for? Does it save you time? Does it really help you out?

Is there something I'm missing here?
#helpful #mindmaps
  • Profile picture of the author kemdev
    I think they're useful for people who want to feel like they're doing real work, and want something pretty as the finished product.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    I think it depends on how your train of thought works. Depending on how you use it, it doesn't replace your plan of action, it helps you clarify it. Other times, mind maps help you get the big picture of what is going on with all of the moving parts.

    I have used them in a few different ways as I have worked on different projects. In all of those attempts, if I try and use software to generate them it takes too long and I scrap it. Instead, I grab a piece of paper and write my key idea or goal in the middle. I then start brainstorming and scratching ideas down, drawing lines to connect them and follow the progression. Depending on where my thought goes is how I map it out.

    When I am done, I then can develop it into an action plan, move items to my task lists, etc. If I need to share it with someone, I then might go back and use a mapping software to create a clean version of the map sans any random thoughts that don't fit or don't need to be shared.

    Don't look at the Mind Map as a replacement to your existing methods as much as an additional tool to help you work through stuff.
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  • I agree. I never sold mindmaps in my WSOs. And whenever I would read one in a product, I usually wouldn't understand it and it would make it more complicated for me because I would see all of the things I had to do just to see results.

    But there have been a few mindmaps I have read before that made the process a bit easier for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    They are helpful for people who need that type of planning. I personally find that my own planning and goal-setting methods work better for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    Its horses for courses really.

    Some will find them great for planning ,some don't need it.
    Depends how easy you find structuring and planning.


    Me I use one for presentation purposes to certain prospects, its great when I/they click on say the 'social media' box and they see all the options open up on their screen, then they click on say Twitter and see all the ways their business isn't making money via Twitter whilst I'm talking with them about those options, they then look at the other options on social media, the other options on the previous levels (mobile, SEO, PPC, Retargetting, etc etc) and they start to realise and worry just how much potential their business IS leaving on the table by not even slightly utilising some of these options. I find it helps focus them and excites them 'just how much can this guy really do for my business' sort of excitement .
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Personal preference: I don't like them. I'm a pretty linear thinker so lists and spreadsheets do it for me. Mindmaps look like spaghetti someone dropped on the floor. Noodles everywhere! A mindmap looks like jumbled nonsense to me.

    I can see, though, how a mindmap would make sense for brainstorming. Showing the interconnectedness of things. I think they might make more sense for women, who tend to think that way more often...everything connected to everything else. Contrast with men who usually put things into separated mental "boxes".

    If a mindmap is to be used in a brainstorming session, I would rather someone else did the recording...and I probably won't use it. But it might be helpful to others. As for inclusion in a product...it does not add value to me. Someone who won't take their own notes is someone who isn't going to learn a darn thing because they aren't involving themselves at all in the process.
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    We used flow charts in 7 Steps to Freedom II (by Ben Suarez) to demonstrate all the steps in the chain from idea to market.

    I've used mind map software, to help create a flow chart, which works much better for many people because instead of a pile of sketti, it is one piece laid out and other pieces in a linear fashion.

    Yes, it is a personal preference, but it has been my experience when you get people to think A-Z, soup to nuts, point A to Point B...they become more productive.

    We were amazed at some of the steps we uncovered at SCI, because I actually had to walk a product through the process.

    Flow charts are useful in aiding the Developmentally Disabled too, we used a technique known as backward chaining...start at the end, then build a chain of action back to the start.

    One of my mentors, Harvey Brody, teaches a similar concept, The View from the Rooftop, with rungs down to the ground. What is the step off rung, the one action which puts you on the roof, then what is the rung below that and so on to the first rung.

    A scattered, or cluttered mind has a hard time with mind-maps because they are visually pleasing, but don't help in prioritizing or what to do next.

    If you benefit from them, that is wonderful.

    Try a flow chart, you might be amazed.

    gjabiz
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post


      Try a flow chart, you might be amazed.

      gjabiz
      Yeah, I've seen Mindmaps, and have never done one myself. But flowcharts? They are very useful to me to work out marketing funnels, and seeing gaps in a presentation.

      I use something similar to create presentations. I list all the points, and then arrange them for the most impact. The same with speeches. The same with sales letters.....And then the editing starts.

      I printed out a mindmap from Frank Kern on creating a webinar sequence. It could have been rewritten in a simple list. A flowchart is more useful to me. And then only for something convoluted.

      This subject reminds me of "Your USP". A lot of discussion about something almost nobody (small business owners) uses.
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  • I think at the end, it's all about the person and what works for you. Being more organized and oriented may be achieved through following a mindmap while another won't find them as useful.
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    • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
      Originally Posted by internetmarketer1 View Post

      I think at the end, it's all about the person and what works for you. Being more organized and oriented may be achieved through following a mindmap while another won't find them as useful.
      I agree with this.

      I use Mindmaps and love them. My mind is always in a million different directions, and I can put them all in a mindmap. I use Xmind.
      Some people make lists, I can't do that.
      I would leave just enough room for a certain thing.
      A.
      1.
      2.
      B. (etc.)

      This is how my lists look. However, if I decide to add something to A later on, there is no room. Where as with a mind map, I just click that button and can add on. Then, I can drill down even deeper into whatever I added. (If that makes sense)
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        make you list in Word or an equal ( I use the text thing on my phone a lot for this ) and you just hit enter after the item you want to add to.

        Kind a silly to compare paper and pencil to a digital tool, when you can use a digital tool to replace paper and pencil.

        Anyone got a pen?

        Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

        I agree with this.

        I use Mindmaps and love them. My mind is always in a million different directions, and I can put them all in a mindmap. I use Xmind.
        Some people make lists, I can't do that.
        I would leave just enough room for a certain thing.
        A.
        1.
        2.
        B. (etc.)

        This is how my lists look. However, if I decide to add something to A later on, there is no room. Where as with a mind map, I just click that button and can add on. Then, I can drill down even deeper into whatever I added. (If that makes sense)
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        • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          make you list in Word or an equal ( I use the text thing on my phone a lot for this ) and you just hit enter after the item you want to add to.

          Kind a silly to compare paper and pencil to a digital tool, when you can use a digital tool to replace paper and pencil.

          Anyone got a pen?
          I prefer making lists with good ole paper and pen. I feel more accomplished when crossing each task off instead of just clicking a button. Although, I do use evernote for other stuff and project management software for projects, but for a daily HIT list, I like my paper and pen. Plus.. I'm a sucker for new pens, kind of have an impressive collection lol.
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            when I typed "anyone got a pen" I seriously was looking in my office.. I don't have a pen or a pencil anywhere even close to me. I had to walk into the other room where my printers are to find one.

            I generally do daily type lists on my phone, and use the crud out of google calendars. If someone calls an wants to leave their number I will open up notepad, and then transfer from there right into my contacts database.

            Paper is lost.. data that is backed up 3 days to Sunday is never lost! ha ha


            Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

            I prefer making lists with good ole paper and pen. I feel more accomplished when crossing each task off instead of just clicking a button. Although, I do use evernote for other stuff and project management software for projects, but for a daily HIT list, I like my paper and pen. Plus.. I'm a sucker for new pens, kind of have an impressive collection lol.
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

            I prefer making lists with good ole paper and pen. I feel more accomplished when crossing each task off instead of just clicking a button. Although, I do use evernote for other stuff and project management software for projects, but for a daily HIT list, I like my paper and pen. Plus.. I'm a sucker for new pens, kind of have an impressive collection lol.
            Me too. But you have to understand, most of my adult life, an electric typewriter was the height of technology. Eventually my handwriting will become illegible, even to me...and I'll adjust by using software.

            The exception is that I write books using Word. But that's about it.
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          • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
            Banned
            Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

            I prefer making lists with good ole paper and pen.
            Long live the legal pad and the Bic fine-point. :-)

            Cheers. - Frank
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            • Profile picture of the author Lori Gerlaugh
              Great discussion! Part of the problem with Internet learning and marketing is that the virtual platform doesn't match any kind of physical reality or even mental image that I can use to link together or synthesize knowledge.

              I do feel constrained by linear lists when I'm learning knew things or being creative. I like to play with how things fit together and relate, and working online you come across so many fragments of information along with big Ah-ha moments, along with social and business information, it's hard to find a place for everything. I've used mindmaps but found them quite limiting as I get too caught up in how to structure and organize them.

              I like to draw out ideas and relationships on a large white board so I can see it and add to it, or take away from it, easily. Have all my websites, funnels, product ideas and traffic sources up there.

              I love paper and notebooks but sadly they have become the graveyard of my creative pursuits as I lose trains of thought (i.e. entire pages or notebooks) only to re-discover them months after they might have been useful. Have piles of them all around.

              So, it's physical drawing for the big picture, and Evernote for the details. Even in Evernote, I've created a virtual mind map for my notes that helps me see the big picture and that helps. I have found a ton of ways to get stuff into it (clipping tool, email, etc) that just makes it easy and comprehensive at the same time.
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  • Profile picture of the author massiveray
    Lists > mind map
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  • Profile picture of the author Trivum
    Mindmaps actually mirror the way your brain stores information (it does it in clusters), so in that way they are generally more "organic" than other types of brainstorming. That's not to say that other types of brainstorming aren't valuable. They are. But different types of brainstorming approach the issue from different angles. They also tend to produce different results.

    I tend to find mindmapping works best at the beginning of the brainstorming process. Its organic nature seems to help me get more ideas. Once I have some general potential directions to go in, I might then switch to a different type of brainstorming technique that tends to be more structured.

    Starting out as "free" as possible and slowing moving to more organization with each progressive step in the process is an approach that I find effective.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I write with a paper and pen as well.
    I carry a small pad of paper and a pen with me all the time.
    Then, I take those ideas and put them into a mind map.
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  • Profile picture of the author JessUBotNinja
    Everyone has their own way of organizing their thoughts and plan their course of action. Some people just do, others need to visualize each step along the way before they can make that leap to do something. If it is not for you no worries - we all work in our own ways. Some people like general lists, post it notes, verbal think tank sessions, whatever works for you find it, use it, and stick by it.
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    • Profile picture of the author abrandt
      Howdy, Members:

      Personally, I find MINDMAPS and INFOGRAPHICS indispensable... from time to time.

      MY MOST RECENT EXAMPLE

      Quick Overview

      1. I run my entire business with Evernote and Gmail... and qualify as a power-user.

      2. Also... I am in the process of establishing a LOCAL SEO agency.


      Context

      In 2014, I invested in some (30) IM tools, courses, software. Although I each of these IM tools are well documented within Evernote, until I created an IM Tools MINDMAP, I honestly had no coherent overview... or even memory... of all these purchases once I completed study of them.


      So I decided to scour all applicable EN notes and Gmail receipts to build a visual inventory of these IM tools
      (see: attached).


      Benefits

      Once the MINDMAP was current... I immediately gained a grip and traction on the purchases... including their categories and potential value (why I purchased them in the 1st place). Now it's a cinch to find any of them pronto within my EN notes.


      I don't know of any way I could have accomplished this task with Evernote and Gmail alone... however I'm certainly ready and willing to learning how... if possible.

      Conclusion

      So... for my purposes... yes... I can find major value in creating a MINDMAP.

      I think finding value always depends upon how one's mind works... tool awareness and education... and then how well one implements and utilizes them.

      I hope this example may prove of value... to some.


      ~ Alan
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Well hey there Alan. What brings you to a year and a half old thread? You musta done quite the search!
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    • Profile picture of the author abrandt
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      Well hey there Alan. What brings you to a year and a half old thread? You musta done quite the search!

      Howdy, Nathan:

      Here's the trajectory by how I found this thread:
      1. I mentioned that I am preparing to establish a LOCAL SEO agency... so I exert a considerable amount of effort and time into research.

      2. This morning I took some time to reacquaint myself with the WF categories since the New Warrior Special Offer (WSO) Rules
      .

      It would have been easier to MINDMAP how this happened! LOL!

      Time and effort... time and effort!... and MindMaps can help improve and increase one's attention to details... implement... and achieve positive results!

      Happy New Year 2015!

      ~ Alan


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      • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
        Originally Posted by abrandt View Post


        Howdy, Nathan:

        Here's the trajectory by how I found this thread:
        1. I mentioned that I am preparing to establish a LOCAL SEO agency... so I exert a considerable amount of effort and time into research.

        2. This morning I took some time to reacquaint myself with the WF categories since the New Warrior Special Offer (WSO) Rules
        .

        It would have been easier to MINDMAP how this happened! LOL!

        Time and effort... time and effort!... and MindMaps can help improve and increase one's attention to details... implement... and achieve positive results!

        Happy New Year 2015!

        ~ Alan


        Hey Alan, thanks for sharing. Crazy how we end up in certain places sometimes.

        I still have not been a fan of the mind map yet. Maybe I don't know how to properly use one? I'm STILL using legal pads and a pen but have actually recently tried out a web based mind map script.

        When I tried out that mind map, its' purpose was for the WSO you purchased earlier today. I quickly abandoned it and went back to my proven method, however ancient it may be.

        I've tried reading tutorials and other blog posts and posts here on mind maps, but I haven't really found any that made much sense to me.
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        • Profile picture of the author abrandt
          Howdy, Nathan:


          I understand. I got a chuckle out this (LOL)...
          • I'm STILL using legal pads and a pen but have actually recently tried out a web based mind map script.

          I have tried several MindMap applications.
          • Mapping Concepts: I find MindMapping useful in regards to mapping CONCEPTS.

          • Archiving Details: Details reside in Evernote.


          Here are some resources that could prove useful... sooner or later.

          RESOURCES

          APPLICATIONS


          I currently use FreeMind (see: attach)... and am appraising XMind (for ease of use, superior interface and mindmap style options).

          (XMind garners excellent review and can import FreeMind generated mindmaps.
          )


          I hope this discussion may prove helpful.
          • It does take some re-orientation... in thinking as well... which can be mighty useful!


          Thank you, Nathan, for starting this thread.

          ~ Alan



          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          Hey Alan, thanks for sharing. Crazy how we end up in certain places sometimes.

          I still have not been a fan of the mind map yet. Maybe I don't know how to properly use one? I'm STILL using legal pads and a pen but have actually recently tried out a web based mind map script.

          When I tried out that mind map, its' purpose was for the WSO you purchased earlier today. I quickly abandoned it and went back to my proven method, however ancient it may be.

          I've tried reading tutorials and other blog posts and posts here on mind maps, but I haven't really found any that made much sense to me.


          Originally Posted by abrandt View Post


          Howdy, Nathan:

          Here's the trajectory by how I found this thread:
          1. I mentioned that I am preparing to establish a LOCAL SEO agency... so I exert a considerable amount of effort and time into research.

          2. This morning I took some time to reacquaint myself with the WF categories since the New Warrior Special Offer (WSO) Rules
          .

          It would have been easier to MINDMAP how this happened! LOL!

          Time and effort... time and effort!... and MindMaps can help improve and increase one's attention to details... implement... and achieve positive results!

          Happy New Year 2015!

          ~ Alan

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          • I guess its a matter of personal preference to attain the same end goal of staying productive. It's like having content in the form of ebook, or audio book or videos. The content is same, but the medium changes. It would vary from person to person what is most helpful to them.

            @iAmNameLess: Bro I am a customer of your WSO, that beauty you put together for starting agencies. There are a lot of questions I need to figure out but just wanted to chime in to say that it is one of the best content books I have read and am implementing in my business. Thanks for taking time out to put it together.

            Best
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            • Profile picture of the author abrandt
              Originally Posted by wordpressexperthelp View Post

              I guess its a matter of personal preference to attain the same end goal of staying productive. It's like having content in the form of ebook, or audio book or videos. The content is same, but the medium changes. It would vary from person to person what is most helpful to them.
              Howdy, wordpressexperthelp:

              > It's like having content in the form of ebook, or audio book or videos.

              Nope. Not correct... if I understand you correctly.

              1. Typically a MINDMAP is not remotely as detail oriented as a report or ebook.

              2. Typically, a MINDMAP visually displays the MAIN CONCEPTS or elements of something much more text detailed.

              3. Typically, the purpose of a MINDMAP is to visually provide an overview of a subject, project or event all within (1) visually enhanced view.

              So its different than converting a Word .DOC to PDF or PPTX, perhaps maintaining the same content in these different formats for different purposes.

              A MINDMAP'S job is to provide simplified VISUAL ACUITY to subject, project or event to accelerate understanding on an overview basis.

              Check out this Google Image search: Mind Maps.
              Perhaps these many varied visuals may better give you a better "picture!"

              I hope this proves helpful.

              ~ Alan
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    Well, even though it IS an old thread, I'll still reply.

    I hate mindmaps. Enough said. :-)
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  • I actually just dropped those sticky notes I showed you the other day, and transferred everything to a free evernote account

    #Winning
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  • Profile picture of the author Underground
    It depends what mindset you have. I absolutely love mindjet. Whether your more linear or if you constant have ideas and then get a thousand more thoughts surging through your head about how you can implement that, if you put them down on mindjet you instantly have a complete visual picture of what you are doing and how everything fits together in a wholistic sense.

    Plus if you use mindjet, you can create content and products superfast, like a book or something, as it gives a logical layout and next step.

    I write out tons of stuff on paper and just end up with whole pads full of writing and I'm very lucky if I can find the subject intact, without being scattered about with other subjects, because I can't always be nice and organized and buy new pads for different topics and subjects when I really just need to scribble something down in the moment.

    Mindjet is like £200, and it's not an investment I'm willing to make right now because I have pressing ones.

    I've currently got a row of six pieces of paper on the wall with the 6 main areas I need to work on before launch, and I've cellotaped a long to-do sheet of all the tasks needed to be done to complete that area.

    I was just having so many sleepless nights trying to remember and get on top of everything I need to do, and I wish I did that sooner and got a complete visual overview, instead of burning up mental energy needlessly. Mindmaps, where you write them out yourself do nothing for me. But the mindjet software is a completely different animal.
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  • Profile picture of the author thet
    If you are a visual thinker, it can help.

    It's also a alternative way of doing brainstorm sessions within teams
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  • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
    I'm used to writing my ideas down all the time. My evernote has thousands of notes. Too often, re-visiting old ideas required reading and re-understanding old notes. You will be surprised at how you can write something on January 1, 2014 and barely know what the heck you were thinking on January 1, 2015.

    Mind Maps help... particularly if your business is process driven or has many moving parts. Having a visual point of reference helps those processes become "ingrained" in your DNA. So much so that if / when they break, you will be prepared to act on fixing them fast.

    It was "painful" to get used to, and it's sill "painful" to learn how to use them correctly, but I've noticed that I am able to stay a bit sharper and more focused from using mind maps as reminders instead of notes everywhere.

    My two cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author abrandt
      Originally Posted by TheBigBee View Post

      I'm used to writing my ideas down all the time. My evernote has thousands of notes. Too often, re-visiting old ideas required reading and re-understanding old notes. You will be surprised at how you can write something on January 1, 2014 and barely know what the heck you were thinking on January 1, 2015.

      Mind Maps help... particularly if your business is process driven or has many moving parts. Having a visual point of reference helps those processes become "ingrained" in your DNA. So much so that if / when they break, you will be prepared to act on fixing them fast.

      It was "painful" to get used to, and it's sill "painful" to learn how to use them correctly, but I've noticed that I am able to stay a bit sharper and more focused from using mind maps as reminders instead of notes everywhere.

      My two cents.
      Spot on! MindMaps are simply a tool:
      • process driven...
      • visual point of reference...
      • helps take action...
      • painful getting used to...
      • painful to learn correctly...
      • sharper and more focused...
      • reminder of notes everywhere...
      ~ Alan
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      • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
        Originally Posted by abrandt View Post

        • painful getting used to...
        • painful to learn correctly...
        This is what is stopping me from using them. But then again, I've been lazy about it. There has to be a reason why people are fanatics about it...now if I can just learn how to do them properly.
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        • Profile picture of the author abrandt
          Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

          This is what is stopping me from using them. But then again, I've been lazy about it. There has to be a reason why people are fanatics about it...now if I can just learn how to do them properly.
          Well... I think you hit it on the head! There's never been much of a payoff for "lazy."

          If there's a need... then the effort could potentially be worth it. For my purposes... that's a 10-4... rodger-dodger!


          ~ Alan
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    I see mind maps like when you're on mapquest looking at a map but you can't actually see all the specific roads or how you're gonna get from point A to point B. It gives you a birds eye view but it does not give you the actual directions.

    That's why I rely mostly on type written action plans and I always put little empty squares on the left. So when I complete a step I just check it off and move on to the next.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ashley Gable
    I use bubble.us and they're great.

    I usually use paper and pencil, but its nice to use a software when they are a little complicated, makes adjusting easier.

    So I for one find them very helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joshua Young
    I don't really like them. I have notebooks full of ideas and plans and when I get serious about something I put it on a spreadsheet or word document. To each his own...
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew S
    I use mindmaps to organize thoughts on long-term goals (months/year). These are typically a bit more complex for just a list, and link out to organized folders that have summaries and files to "keep the train on the tracks".

    I use evernote to-do lists to tackle short-term stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    Great points being made on both sides.

    Personally, I use mindmaps to flesh out an idea/course/etc. as it is so much easier to find and organize ideas. Another added bonus is when using Scrivener, some of the mindmap software will export directly into Scrivener giving the best of both worlds.

    In general, I find as the size of the mindmap gets larger, it starts to get clunky to use. But importing the mindmap into Scrivener starts to make a project manageable again.

    Marvin
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  • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
    I actually write everything on paper. That generally works.
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