A key ingredient you may be missing in your mind maps

If you’re like most users of mind mapping software, chances are you’re primarily using them to meet short-term needs – to brainstorm ideas or outline the agenda for a meeting, for example. But in doing so, you may be missing an opportunity to get even more value out of their favorite productivity software.

The key is to re-think your mind maps as tools for managing your projects throughout their life cycle. Not only is mind mapping software a powerful tool for defining the scope of your project, but also for tracking progress, managing tasks and milestones, and capturing key learnings at the end of the project.

Often, connections between related pieces of information in our maps aren’t immediately evident at the time you record them. It’s often only after days or weeks of perspective that you may get hit by the legendary “a-ha!” and see where something fits.

Long-lifetime maps, therefore, are works in progress, which you continue to refine as your project evolves.

(This post was adapted from my popular e-book, Power Tools & Strategies for Mind Mapping Software – Second Edition)

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  1. says

    Great post Chuck!

    It’s such an important but often over looked aspect of mind mapping. Mind maps are organic by nature and therefore should be grown over time. We might want to prune a branch here or encourage a branch to grow elsewhere.

    Long life mind maps are never really complete and should be re-visited, reviewed and refined on a frequent basis.

  2. says

    Dear Chuck:
    As always, your mind mapping advice is right on target.

    Since you brought up tracking, when using mind maps to plan and track my writing progress in a book, or series of connected blog posts, I like to change the fill color of completed topics from white to gray.

    This reduces the readability of the text–assuming you're using black–of the completed topics, showing at a glance which topics have been written and which remain to be written.

    Another "long range" idea is to use mind maps of blog posts to track the number of comments and Retweets each post has generated, helping me track which topics are most popular.

    Thanks for sharing another in a long-series of informative ideas!

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