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Mapping Your Maps

I don’t know. Maybe most of you MindManager power users (or even not so power users) out ther have been doing this for years. I just figured it out…

I don’t like the file folder metaphor. And yet, that is how, from day one, I have been saving all my maps. When I try to conjure up a mental image of where my maps are, I see a room full of closed file cabinets. The thought of searching through all those cabinets, even though they have little labels on each drawer, makes me a bit nauseous.

I much prefer the image of my maps hanging like fruit from a tree in my backyard. When I want to find a map, I just kind of pull back the leaves and look for the fruit I need.

I E-mailed Mike Jetter the other day saying how great it would be to be able to save maps like this. He said you can do that already, if in a slightly different way, and explained how to do it. I thought: “Wah! Wah! Wah! I want to do it my way.” But then I thought about what he had said, tried it, and, I tell you, it felt like a revelation.

The idea is simple, but powerful. Kind of like the software. Here’s how it works.

First, create a Master Map. Every time you need to start a new map, don’t go to File: New. Instead, open up your Master Map, find the place where you want your new map to reside, insert a new topic, name the topic, then choose: File/Send to/MindManager as new map.

MindManager then opens a new map with the topic title in the center, and away you go. Instead of shoving yet another file folder in yet another musty file cabinet, you have kind of blossomed a new fruit off of your tree. It’s a beautiful thing.

Once I started this, it slowly sunk in that I was saving my visually. I just started this this week. But I already feel my anxiety level dropping as I realize that I am going to have a much easier time finding and, if necessary, moving my maps.

While I don’t have a dog, I can appreciate the concept of “eating your own dog food” (though where/how/why that saying ever originated will remain a mystery for me). If you are using MindManager with any regularity, you clearly understand the value of this visual system. Why then slink back to the file metaphor to take one of the most important steps in knowledge creation: Organizing your knowledge in a way that makes sense to you. Think blossoming trees, not musty file rooms. It’s like a breath of fresh air.