I love mind mapping (nerd alert!). For whatever reason, the way I think syncs up perfectly with the spidery visualization that is a mind map. Creating one is the best way I’ve ever found to organize my thoughts on a subject, and the process of building one is a great first step before tackling more in-depth planning. They also help me defeat uncertainty, confusion, and procrastination.
I’ve always loved the mind mapping technique, but I’ve struggled with finding the right tool. I don’t like writing out on paper or white boarding in the real world, because I will always want a digital representation of my mind map eventually, and it’s hard to change, re-arrange, and edit hand-written mind maps (even on whiteboards).
I’ve used a number of software programs in the past, but I’ve never found one that can keep up and flow with my thoughts without getting in the way; I usually get slowed down or frustrated with formatting, re-arranging, and organizing branches.
After looking for something that just *works* for a long time, I think I’ve finally found the perfect tool for mind mapping, and it’s made me so happy I need to share it with you. A month or two ago I ran across a web app called coggle. It is the holy grail of mind mapping tools. It enables you to make incredibly handsome mind maps effortlessly. Not only is it really easy, but it’s also a web app that allows sharing, so the experience when working on a mind map with someone else is on par with the magic of Google Docs collaboration. Multiple people can edit and add to a diagram at the same time, and there are features for commenting and discussing nodes. I also appreciate that I can pull up diagrams on any browser, without having to install local software. I know, this is starting to sound like a commercial, but I feel a strong pull to be a cheerleader for such an awesome tool, and I really want to share! The coggle team have taken what can be a complicated or frustrating software experience and made it effortless.
Their monetization strategy is a little strange: they allow “free” accounts one private mind map (or as they call it, diagram), and if you create additional diagrams they will be publicly accessible and searchable by the rest of the world. I guess the hope is that you’ll value having privacy for your mind maps, and pay the monthly subscription fee. There are also a few advanced features that are only available if you subscribe. At this point, I still have a free account, but I am very tempted to add $5/month to my recurring expenses, not only to access the locked features and get more privacy, but to support the awesome developers.
Recently I’ve used coggle to organize thoughts and plan for future possibilities in RV living and vacationing in Europe, as well as organizing constructive ways I can use my free time, and better tackle a future of freelancing.
How do you organize your thoughts? Have you tried mind mapping? Do you know a tool that looks nicer than coggle?