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What’s the best way to brainstorm and take notes? We discuss mindmapping vs outlining, and when to use each technique. There are times when you should mind maps – especially if you have the personality type for it. For others, outlines and text notes might be superior. Listen to this episode to find out which tool works best work you and which apps we recommend for each.

Cheat Sheet

  • What mindmapping is and why you might want to use it for information retention and organization
  • Dissecting the anatomy of an effective mind map
  • How a mindmap works and the process used to make one
  • How mindmaps helps you to see information in new ways and how it can stimulate the creative process
  • The three different types of mindmaps (and when to use each)
  • How to use mindmaps for taking notes when reading a book to increase retention of what you’re reading
  • How to structure a mindmap for presenting to an audience (and why you might want to use this approach)
  • How to use proper mindmapping techniques to solve problems
  • The specific instances when you should use an outline instead of a mindmap
  • The advantages of outlining over mind mapping and how to leverage these advantages in certain situations
  • Specific use cases for how Asian Efficiency uses outlining and mind mapping
  • Recommended apps and tools that you can use to create killer mindmaps and outlines


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  1. Also worth noting is the website biggerplate.com, which is a host for mindmaps from various program. They also conduct an annual survey and issue a report on how people are using mindmaps.

  2. I know it’s pretty expensive, but I think iMindMap (https://imindmap.com/) is a pretty terrific program. It’s got as much functionality as any of its competitors and it’s just the nicest aesthetically. I do a lot of presentation mindmaps in my teaching (I’m a university professor and corporate trainer), and it works really beautifully. The maps are eye-catching and present well on the screen. (I also use it for library maps and planning my teaching and writing projects). It’s also got a new brainstorming view if you don’t want to connect the lines too early. Definitely a big investment if you’re new to mindmapping, but after using it for a long time I’ve come to view most other mindmaps as pretty ugly.

  3. Great content
    Appreciate the concise information packed approach
    The use for problem solving is relevant for my work
    I equate the use of mind mapping with blue sky thinking for new programs or services.
    And, you speak favorably of MACs and iPad [I work in a PC world] so that is encouraging to me.

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