Okay, it seems I piqued the interest of a few of you. Yes, I am a recent fan of this software program, XMind, which is an open source program to develop your own mind maps, organizational charts, flow charts, and more. Plus, if you're trying to collaborate with someone in another city or state, can be very beneficial since you can easily share your charts.
Let's say you need to plan a move. Your mind is filled with a mass amount of thoughts but they are all jumbled together. In order to make sense of it all, you might create a mind map to capture everything that needs to be done.
For instance, it may look like this:
That's a simple drawn mind map. It can be as complex as you'd like, depending on everything that needs to be done. But once a person starts laying out the ideas for a project, soon they start to see details that otherwise would have been lost. But now, your mind has a place to put all of those ideas. Hence, the beauty of a mind map.
With XMind, a map is just one of the choices to map out your project or idea. I use an organizational chart to help me see the flow of tasks I need to address. The map on the side is a homemade one. XMind has all sorts of nifty ways to make a map look so much better.
When I mapped out the ideas for my book chapters, they came so quickly that I was amazed. I know books need outlines, but for some reason, I felt overwhelmed by it. Once my eyes had a visual image to work with, however, the ideas flowed quickly until I had ten specific topics I wanted to cover in each chapter. What a relief! I felt as though a 50 lb. weight had lifted from my head! I was even able to see the progression I wanted to take with the chapter development, hopefully creating them in such a way that would segue naturally into the next chapter topic.
If you have a huge project, or need to plan your curriculum or next meeting's agenda - I can't recommend enough using a mapping approach. It just feels much more organic than the formal outline method and for me at least, it was much more enjoyable.
Hope it brings out the productive genius that you always knew you had. Thank God for these tools!