It’s one thing to organize files on your Mac, it’s something else again to use your Mac to organize your time. Can you use your Mac to organize your thoughts?
Can a Mac application help you bring order to the activity in the brain? Can you capture or tap into that stream of thought and bring out gems of insight and creativity?
This isn’t a cerebral look into a new to-do list application, or a project and task application. We have plenty of those already. It’s not even a look at how to flow chart your actions.
This is my last shot at mental organization before mommyhood sets in on a permanent basis. I need every tool I can get to help me cope with a whole new world.
I’ve got my daily to-do list, complete with my project list, and the required list of tasks. That’s good for the things I need to get done, and there’s plenty on all the lists.
This is about the never ending flow of thinking processes that roll through the head all day (and sometimes all night). I want some way of capturing some of those thoughts, and figuring out if there’s anything of value in there, and then what to do with the better thoughts.
This may be a last ditch effort to maintain sanity. Baby is due soon, so I’m not expecting a full recovery to being a normal human being for another 18 or 22 years. Or more. If ever.
Tera uses her Mac to flesh out ideas. Not only does it keep her organized and productive, she actually uses Mac applications to help her think. That’s what I want.
I’m a free spirit. I need to act like one. With baby on board, if I can’t act like a free spirit, I can think like one. Think “free”, Alex.
Free isn’t what I found in most so-called “mind mapping” applications for the Mac.
Mind mapping is the term for organizational software which helps to outline your thoughts, organize those thoughts, clarify ideas. I know some people for which that’s not even possible.
It also helps to link words and ideas to a central theme, or thought. These applications let you build structure to ideas. This can be handy for studying problems, problem solving, even decision making.
My fear, of course, is that once baby arrives, all my thinking will be discarded in favor of all the trauma that parenthood brings to couples who once loved each other but become reduced to young, upwardly mobile zombies with maxed out credit card limits.
However, I remain “free” oriented right to the end, and found a couple of decent Mac applications that are guaranteed to map your mind.
Of course, the guarantee assumes a few things. One, your mind is mappable. Two, you have a Mac. Three, you don’t mind trying free applications. Four, obviously, this is a limited warranty which doesn’t mean squat.
Regarding MyMind, please note that the Mac360 staff will travel to the ends of the earth to find unique Mac applications for you to try. Well, in this case we simply downloaded MyMind from a site in Germany, but you get the sense of dedication, right?
How’s your German? MyMind bills itself as an outliner with a built in mind mapping function. Or, vice versa.
MyMind is quite straightforward; so much so that I couldn’t figure out anything other than the end result of my efforts gave me a document that looked like the map they hold up in Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.
Maybe it’s my mind. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe thinking isn’t what I’m supposed to do, but I had better success with FreeMind. Did I mention that it’s free?
Maybe this is a left brain, right brain thing. I can never remember which is which; creative or logical, or if you can be both.
I just come up with plenty of ideas and want someway to make sense of at least two or three. I’m holding out for a slot on American Inventor.
FreeMind seems to have more latitude to account for the diversity in human brains. Not only will it help keep track of projects, tasks, and so on (desperately needed by some), it also reverts to simpler tasks for the mind organizationally challenged among the populace. And my household.
Brainstorming. That’s what I need. Thoughts. That’s what I have plenty of. Organize it all into a database. That’s what I want. I figure if I can empty my full mind from time to time, I’ll have more time for other activities. Or, a nap.
FreeMind blew my mind. Not because it was the answer to whatever questions I was asking myself, but because the feature set is so rich it’s hard to figure out where to begin. So I didn’t.
My mind remains at 110-percent chaos, with no organization whatsover; despite Tera’s best attempts, despite Bambi’s recommendations, despite the open source community’s free software which I so love.
Mac tools that want me to map my mind are missing the obvious. I don’t want to map my mind, I want my mind mapped. It’s more than a subtle difference.
I don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars on an application that breeds frustration and hostility, but I do have an objective to achieve. Organize my thoughts.
What’s your poison? What Mac applications have you tried which help you outline thoughts, solve problems, harness cortical skills, roam the infinite expanses of your brain?
Share with me. Before it’s too late.