So I’ve just got into this whole mind-mapping thing. Mind maps are basically a way to organize thoughts and take notes in a graphical form, where you break things up into simple and short comments and link them together in a graph. The same hierarchy can of course be represented in the same way using nested bullet points, but the visual representation of the mind map really is more intuitive and makes your thoughts much easier to digest mentally.
So far I’ve used mind maps for brainstorming ideas and taking notes during meetings. In both cases I found a mind map superior to other methods I’ve tried.
Anyways, I’ve tried a number of mind-mapping tools and ended up deciding on FreeMind which is free and cross-platform since it’s written in Java. It’s easy to use and has enough features that I see no reason to spend as much as $250 on some of the commercial tools, although I’m sure they’re great too. I think the big take-away is to pick a tool and give it a try to see if using mind-maps is for you… If you’re like me, I’m sure you won’t go back to traditional note taking!
FreeMind really is an awesome piece of software. It’s also pretty handy for writing articles/reports/plans/etc… as well.
A node for each heading, child nodes for paragraphs, reorder them as you need and copy+paste the lot into a word processor. Much easier than writing it up in a flat document.