If you’re fairly new to the world of mind mapping software, then you may not know about one of its most important productivity-enhancing features: The ability to attach notes, files, hypertext links and other information to map topics.
Many new users of mind mapping software find it’s quite useful for brainstorming and getting organized. That’s definitely important. But if your perceptions of what it can do has been shaped by the examples of software-produced mind maps you’ve seen online, then you’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
Topics as “containers”
Most mind mapping software enables you to attach numerous types of content to individual topics. When you rearrange the topics, these assets follow along. In that sense, it’s helpful to think of each topic as a “container” for information. When someone first explained that to me about 10 years ago, I immediately grasped how profound it really was. This characteristic makes it unique among the many types of business productivity software. And it gives its users a major advantage:
You can use this capability to keep a wealth of supporting information just a mouse click away.
A typical file management scenario
Compare that to how you typically work. Like most of us, you probably have a deeply nested collection of file folders on your computer’s local drive or a network drive. Despite your best efforts to keep it organized, it has grown like a bed of weeds. That means you’re probably spending many frustrating hours a week just trying to figure out where you put files – a scenario I dramatized in the image above!
Your mind maps can keep all of this ancillary information neatly organized, within the context of the projects you’re working on. Think of these links as the functional equivalent of bookmarks or shortcuts in your web browser. They are pathways to information you want to be able to easily retrieve later.
As you can see from the image above, these assets – files, hyperlinks and topic notes – are represented by small, unobtrusive icons. If you need access to one of these resources, simply click on its icon and the file opens. In this program, NovaMind, if you mouse over an icon, a tool tip appears, giving you a preview of what’s behind the mouse click – without you actually having to open it.
Maintain a high-level view of your info
On the other hand, if you are just doing high-level work and don’t need these assets, they remain neatly tucked away, ready to be summoned forth if and when they’re needed. Meanwhile, they’re not causing visual distractions, enabling you to work with a high-level view of your information.
That’s pretty cool, if you stop to think about it. Not only is it cool, however – it’s potentially a big time-saver for you, especially if you work on large, complex projects.
So why not explore your program’s topic enhancement capabilities today?