A Plethora of Options for Mapping Out My Mind

I want a mind map driven task manager for someone with a Mac laptop and an Android phone.

My life is much too complicated to manage without a digital brain, but the last thing I want to do is face the fact that I have too many interests and not enough time. My To Do list scares the hell out of me, which is why I only really use it for shopping lists. I know I’d get a lot more done if I could ride herd on my long list of intentions better, so I’m looking for a new tool. Enter mind maps.

Scott's Life

Mind maps are a way of seeing ideas that fits better into my brain. Like any worthwhile viewpoint, *I* am at the center, and major points of interest radiate out from there. Ideas flow into each other the way I think about them, instead of as collection of lists. But, with the right software, tasks I want to do related to these ideas can be converted into task lists. That last part, connecting the two technologies, is the part that seems hardest to pull off, particularly as a Apple user.

There’s quite a variety of free and for-pay apps for mind mapping. So far I’ve examined FreeMind, XMind, and Mindomo. The tricky part is the integration with the task management software.

Specifically what I want is to be able to create tasks from either the mind map on my laptop or the task manager on my phone and have them automatically synchronized. I think the mind map will provide the high-level coordination my system has been missing. I’ve also seen a good case for using all-day tasks in Google Calendar as a task list, because it allows one to see their tasks and calendar on the same page.

At the moment I’m leaning toward XMind Free to start with. It’s fully featured, open source, and free, and will get me started. For around $100 it has project management features that would be useful for my game development process also. There are also third-party plug-ins that automatically sync with popular task managers, but so far the only ones I’ve seen run on Windows, not OS X.

If necessary, I will manually do the syncing to try the whole system. I can create categories or tags in ToodleDo or Google Calender/Tasks for each node on the Mind Map. I will then have to manually keep them in sync by checking them completed in each location, etc. Once I decide if the system generally has merit, I can then do a free 30 day trial and see if I can accomplish the same thing automatically before forking over my cash.

I’ll keep you posted as to my results, and I’m open to suggestions about what works for other people.

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