Tools I Use: digital mind mapping

Ryan Holiday explains “The Notecard System: The Key For Remembering, Organizing And Using Everything You Read.”

This system may work in the physical world (I respect that if you need everything to be physical for some reason).  I see all this possible as a digital mind map to minimize duplication (it is just a link or lines drawn to the same dot), less rewriting, simpler organization that travels with you anywhere and easier categorization for those comfortable using digital tools.

I find it interesting to watch people squirm while I explain how I do this using digital tools as they still have a reluctance (resistance) in giving up their legacy methods using paper due to their own comfort zones. If they don’t want to change and get out of their own (way) comfort zone, it is their own problem to solve.

I prefer tools and information to follow me anywhere/anytime rather than going to where it is all physically located in order to review/iterate it. Especially since new ideas are fleeting, need to be captured (vs. vanish with memory) and get linked to other ideas/needs at some point.

Yes, one of the tools I use is digital mind mapping. Not on a paper, but rather fully editable ideas. I find it a good tool for forming and dissecting ideas. Before creating an outline for a book, I start with a mind map. As I continue existing projects, I mind map them.

Mind mapping helps create dots (ideas) and connect those dots (drawing lines/relations) such as:

  1. keywords/keyphrases
  2. related articles (links)
  3. related images (links to drawings, photos, infographics whether they are mine in Google Drive or from the internet)

Then, it becomes clearer to see what gaps are there and which gaps you want to fill.

Once you are comfortable with scope (self-imposed limits) of ideas you want to cover (and what you don’t want to cover), it is easier to form an outline for writing a book.

I also use mind mapping to cover who and what topics I have covered with my podcast interviews and what I want to do in the future.

Here is a list of mind mapping tools you can use (free or paid). I happen to use Mind Meister.

And that is how I use mind mapping. How do you use mind mapping?

Need help with tools like this for your business?



How do I: Manage Email

Email is still a necessary evil (time-sucking monster) for most of us in the working world.

As mentioned earlier, I have only one and answer one phone. On my iPhone, I also combine all my unread emails from multiple email accounts (4–12 email accounts depending on the number of clients and projects I have going on) into one unread email folder. This is done with the understanding that we read mostly unread emails unless we need to reference something from past emails sometimes.

When you have multiple email accounts (work/personal/etc), having one unread email folder from all the accounts combined makes it easier to:

  1. Scan all emails for importance based on sender and subject line
  2. Edit out (delete without reading) all emails not worth reading (we all get them, but why waste your time)
  3. Read the emails worth your time

This process also helps expose unread emails within a threaded email with multiple replies.

This way it is easier to maintain inbox zero every day (which I do). I do not ‘nuke’ all emails if I have too many, but I have heard people do this and hope that people who really want to reach you about something will simply re-attempt later.

You do not have to check email hourly nor every time you get another email. Checking email twice a day (morning and late afternoon) makes it much more manageable so there will some volume to start this process rather than repeating throughout the day. Replying to valid emails within 24 hours is only fair to those who you should reply back to. The emails will still be there when you get to them.

Rarely have I seen emails that are set to expire (it is an option within advanced email tools) when the information has a very valid expiration date with very formal deadlines for any action items. I would see this email well before it expires.

Some advanced email tools allow you to know if someone opened your email, but I am not in sales so I don’t care. If my email was not read, their loss, not mine. Yes, I do keep all my sent emails.

When you consider when people are more likely read and reply to emails (weekdays), so I schedule emails and replies. Seconds do not matter in the world of email.

This is how I manage my email. How do you manage your email (monsters)?


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