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Mind Mapping

Huh? You thought I tried to stick to topics associated with finance, right? Well, mostly. In fact, today Jeff Rose published part two of my Estate Planning article at Good Financial Cents. Here, however, I thought I take a slight detour and show you the thought process that went into writing a near two thousand word article like that.

A few weeks ago, I read (well, watched, as it turned out to be a tutorial video) a post on Erica.Biz titled How to Make a Mind Map. Always open to new ideas, I watched her video and started to think about when I’d be able to give it a try. For simple articles you’d want to write or small projects, a tool like this may not really help you along, as there may not be much you need to work with. As my posts average 250-300 works, it took until now to give it a go. When I asked Jeff what topic he’d like me to tackle next and he said Estate Planning, the mind starts to race. From a racing mind comes this mind map:


Note, you can click to view it full size if you are squinting. You can see that in a way this is like an old-fashioned outline we used to use for term papers. What’s different is you can brainstorm, and keep writing words that come to mind, and then organize into main and subtopics. When thinking about this topic, I visited the mindmap over a few days, and once it was complete, the rest was easy. If you haven’t done so, take a look at the Estate Planning article at Jeff’s site and see how this process helped me write. Erica’s site links to the software if you want to try it yourself. See if this can help you or your family with a project that you have coming up.

FTC disclosure – I have no business relationship with either Erica.biz or with the Mindmeister software I discussed herein. If a reader signs up for the paid version through Erica’s site she gets a small fee, and she states that on her blog.


  • Tim Fulford December 8, 2009, 3:49 pm

    I am glad to see that you have found Mind Mapping: next step learn the one word per branch and then you will see a whole new world open up, releasing new freedoms of attachment! 🙂

  • Hobie Swan December 8, 2009, 6:34 pm

    I just have a hard time accepting the notion that we can reduce the complexity of our lives to one word. I know brevity is the soul of wit, and strivig for it can sharpen the mind. But sometimes it’s more about capturing your ideas as they come to you, rather than spending too much energy distilling it to one perfect word. If it takes a tow or three or four words, you’re still way ahead of the game!

  • JOE December 8, 2009, 8:06 pm

    The concept isn’t so much to get it down to one word, but to just get the thoughts out and organize later. I hope you read the Estate Planning article that was the result of this effort. The user can choose to write what they wish, a word, a sentence, whatever they are thinking.

  • Hobie Swan December 8, 2009, 10:13 pm

    I just read it, Joe. We humans just don’t like to accept our mortality, I guess. Recently I’ve heard a couple of stories about “species racism” or something like that. This was loosely defined as people who have a negative attitude toward those soon to come who, thanks to anticipated advances at the bio/electrical interface, will be part human and part computer….

  • Tim Fulford December 9, 2009, 2:56 am

    If you find that you cannot get down to one word per branch then you haven’t quite reached that deeper understanding of the pure concept and freedom of Mind Mapping. Sticking to more than one is brainstorming which is very different.
    Once you understand and can use the ‘one word’ then you will feel the real freedom that Mind Mapping gives you. 🙂

  • Tim Fulford December 9, 2009, 2:58 am

    There is no extra energy required to reach the one word just being able to reflect and release more from your brain.

  • JOE December 9, 2009, 7:39 pm

    That’s ok. The map itself was one step of a process. No different to a reader than if you saw my penciled notes with crossed out words, arrows and a plain mess. Something easier to handle than a bunch of sticky notes. I’d use it again for the larger project or post.

  • Financial Samurai December 9, 2009, 6:50 pm

    Ouch Joe, my mind hurts after trying to figure out that mind map! Nevertheless, good plan and concept.

  • Susan Weiner December 17, 2009, 9:15 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love mind mapping! I always use it for writing long, complex articles.

    I’ve tried MindMeister, but I prefer handwritten maps.

  • ctreit March 25, 2010, 11:11 am

    Thanks for sending me to this post via twitter which sent me over to Erica’s and Jeff’s site. I like how this mind map helped you write a pretty comprehensive overview of estate planning. I will probably use this technique myself now.

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