Mind mapping apps and the cloud realization

I’ve been testing mind mapping apps this weekend.

I liked XMind the most. It’s not web-based but I loved the clean and minimalist space and the fact that I can brainstorm using the keyboard 99% of the time, no extra mouse clicking needed. I also tested Mindmeister, which is all on the web but it felt clunkier to add nodes and do everything using the keyboard. I want a mind mapping software to be easier to brainstorm than if I was doing it by hand (or as close as possible).

XMind seems to be the one for me. Super easy, simple, clean interface. But, again, it’s a desktop app, which lately has not been a disadvantage for me.

I have been noticing that I don’t like to use the web for everything. It’s distracting!

  • Note-taking: I like to use Evernote desktop app (I don’t like Evernote Web)
  • To-do List: I like to use NirvanaHQ’s desktop app (which is exactly the same as the web, which is great)
  • Writing: I like to use good old Microsoft Word to write.
  • Calendar: sometimes I prefer to use the Windows native Calendar app to check my Calendar. But since there are limitations on the app, I still have to use Google Calendar on the web (that’s the only exception to my list).

That doesn’t mean I don’t like information being available on the cloud. I love that Onedrive, Evernote, NirvanaHQ and Office 365 offer online access whenever I want. I don’t like it when I don’t have control over the data. I can copy all my files stored on Onedrive to an external hard disk. I can export all my Evernote notes to a file and save it wherever I want as a backup. I can copy and move my .doc files around. I can export all of Nirvana’s data into a file.

I avoid cloud services when they are 100% online. Like Google Docs, for example. I don’t know where my Google docs files are stored. I mean, yes, I know they are in Google’s servers, but I don’t have control over them unless I export it to .doc or .pdf and make a copy somewhere. That’s the only way to truly have those files. Otherwise, they are linked forever to the cloud service. It seems scary to me!

Conclusion:  I decided to stick with XMind to so some mind maps 😊. At least for now. I’ll give a few weeks and see how it goes.

My first Mind Map using XMind

Free thinking and mind maps

Free thinking is a wonderful device that facilitates creativity. Essentially, it is an exercise where you try to record as many thoughts as you can in a set period of time. You don’t need to be concerned about spelling, syntax, or application of the thought; you just want to record your thoughts as they happen without editing.

From the book “Mind Maps: Improve Memory, Concentration, Communication, Organization, Creativity, and Time Management” – by Ken Arthur

I’m really enjoying this book about mind mapping! I’ve know the technique from articles I’ve read about Tony Buzan, who popularized the term. But I could never grasp the concept of mind mapping, and I couldn’t see how it could be useful in my activities, be it work or study.

It’s like a non-linear scheme of thoughts, ideas  and key words in which you create links and correlations. For me the most difficult part is to get rid of linear thinking!! Weird, huh?

Anyway, I drafted my first real mind map this year!  Yay!! But I’ll talk about that in a later post.

Let’s start mapping!!