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How Mind-Mapping and Books Go Hand in Hand

How Mind-Mapping and Books Go Hand in Hand

Most of us know about mind-mapping already; we know that it can help us create amazing overviews and give us a lot of clarity. Today I would like to talk with you about the wonderful synergy between mind-mapping and books.

The way most people create mind maps is by taking notes or by jotting down their thoughts and ideas, and that’s a good method, but there is an additional way you can use mind maps to your advantage.

Mind Mapping and Writing

Have you ever written a book? More and more people are walking around with the idea of writing a book (or at least sharing their ideas and thoughts with the world), and you can do that as well—but where to start, right?

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There is a very easy method for writing books with mind-mapping strategies. The first thing you need to do is outline your ideas in a mind map. One easy way to do this is by creating a number of chapters, each represented by a new branch. Then, you add subjects you’d like to discuss in that chapter as topics to that branch.

Here’s the smart thing that most people won’t do, but can actually let you save a lot of time and energy: open the notes section of each node in your mind map. Next, start explaining your idea in that text field. Is it ready? Then you move on to the next one. Are you stuck? Move on anyway, making the text of the previous node bold (so you know the text isn’t ready). Proceed until you have all nodes discussed and you have your document ready.

You’re almost done—all you need to do is transform it into a proper book format. This is done by exporting it to Microsoft Word, for example. Most mind mapping tools can do this: the topics on the branches are turned into headlines, while the note text becomes the paragraph text.

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There you have it! Your own book, based on the mind map you created.

Mind Mapping and Reading

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the books you read? Are you highlighting all the text except for the page numbers? There should be a more effective way to do this, and there is. A quick and simple way to read books and remember more of what you read is by mind-mapping your notes.

The next time you read a book, create a new mind map. Make branches for the chapters (or paragraphs) you will be reading first: this is done without actually reading the book yet. Simply take headings and create a mind map structure of the book. Then you start reading the book, adding notes to the map as you go. One simple way is by taking the paragraph and other headlines, and adding highlighted, bold, italic, or other keywords to the map.

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Before you know it, you have a summary of the book. (If you’re doing this the smart way, it could even be without actually reading the book itself!). Then, take your mind map and keep it as a guideline for reading and studying. The map itself gives you the big tour through the book, and you just need to add new ideas and thoughts when you are doing more comprehensive reading.

And Now it’s Up to You

There you have it: a way to write your own book (or document, report, article, etc.) and a method for transforming books into practical and useful mind maps. What will you do with this knowledge?

Here are some action points to help you start applying this theory in your own life:

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Action Point 1: If you don’t have a book waiting inside you yet, write the story of your own life. When you would write such a book 30 years in the future, what branches and subjects would it include? What would the story of your life tell, inspire, and show others?

Action Point 2: Grab a book that you should read and outline it using the mind map method I shared with you. Do you have a better sense of the content now?

Action Point 3: Think about a book you don’t really want to read, but have to. The book might be difficult to understand—how would you use the two techniques to make a version of it that’s easier to comprehend? (Hint: use both techniques for this.)

Good luck mind-mapping, writing, and reading. I am confident you will be able to save a lot of time and get a good sense of your books and information this way. Below, feel free to share how you would use this technique in your life. Remember to use it at least once, and know when to stop mind mapping as well.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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