Not all these are my ideas. I have read about most of them.
1. As a note taking tool
While listening to a talk or a radio program (like NPR), write down concepts. Scatter them on the page. Start connecting them. Later, after the talk/program is done, name the associations. I use a blank white sheet with no lines.
2. As a thinking tool
Start with the central idea/theme in the middle of the page. For about 5-10 minutes just write down every other related idea that occurs to you. Draw the connections. Take a look the the map and if needed, re-organize it as another diagam.
3. As a problem solving tool
Write down the problem in the center. Write every associated problem that may occur if this problem is not solved on one half of the page. Write every possible solution you can think of (for the initial problem) on the other half of the page.
4. As a brainstorming tool
This is done with a group. Write down the idea/problem you want to brainstorm about. Write it in the middle of a whiteboard. Let people shout out whatever comes to their mind. Write those ideas. Connnect them to the central idea and to other related ones. A visual dispersion of topics has one advantage. It has no implied ordering which allows you to think more clearly. If the mindmap gets too dense (more than 7-9 nodes), repartition it.
5. As a To-do list
Draw a simple map first with three nodes – short term, medium term, long term. Take each one of your todo list item and connect to one of these. Explore other alternative ways of classifying your todo lists:
- Things I love to do/Things I hate to do
- Stephe Covey’s Four quadrants (urgent, not-urgent| important, not important)
6. As a learning tool
After reading each chapter, write down a mind map of the chapter. Then write down a consolidated map of the whole book (or topic). Use it to refresh your memory once in a while. You can also use the nodes of the maps as pointers to important resources.
7. Improvement Map
Make a list of ideas for improving things about you and around you. Pick a few and transfer them to the todo list (not-urgent but important category).
Go to Mind Mapping Resource Center for more ideas