How Summer Connects it all Together with MindNode
Hi! Who are you?
My name is Summer, I'm a figurative artist and Senior Textile Designer for a fashion company in Los Angeles, CA. I create in a lot of mediums and produce content all over the internet. Primarily on Twitch and soon to be on Skillshare. Overall, I'm an artist and a thinker.
How did you discover mind mapping?
I discovered mind mapping years ago, but it was all by hand then. I LOVE the studies of productivity, time and organization. I've read most of the books out there covering everything from memory palaces to GTD to Atomic Habits. I delved heavy into a many of the alternative techniques for mental organization like brain dumps and productivity habits like the pomodoro technique – if there's an organization acronym or catch phrase, I probably know it. I have a lot of ideas all the time, and they get overwhelming – and I've tried so many different things – I make lists and just never look at them again, or have a million interests and project plans with goal sheets of things I want to do that don't connect to each other, and don't take into account everything else I'm doing (or the actual time I have to do them in).
How has mind mapping helped you?
Mind mapping takes alllll of that and lets me get as detailed as I want while retaining the big picture. It helps me see the feasibility of projects or scheduling and it helps me stay on track. My brain is wonderful because it connects disparate ideas and combines them into new ones, but it does that all the time – so having a literal web of ideas that I can jump around in lets my mind feel calm – not only is everything written down like a brain dump, but I can riff on any part, expanding it out, and not loose sight of everything it's attached to. I couldn't get into mind mapping by hand because it felt I'd need an infinite amount of paper and it was so messy! I'm such a visual person, and the chaos on the page of a handwritten mind map did not do for me what MindNode does. It allows me to think creatively, in an organized fashion. It lets me bring order to the chaos after expressing all the gargantuan ideas pressing to get out. I can also re-organize and align things later, and it becomes a working document. I've been a part of the MindNode community for years – but started really diving in more the last year or so since getting an iPad. The new features are amazing too. I've turned a few friends on to it, and one especially has said it changed how she approaches everything now – it's given her a new way to think. I love that.
When do you start mind mapping?
I start mind maps whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or if there's a big project without a straight line of action in sight. I tend to get that deer-in-the-headlights paralysis if I can't clearly see my next steps, and if things aren't broken down small enough to be actionable. So I take them into a mind map and break them down. And then break them down even further if I need to. They're also great for showing me what seems difficult to understand - I did one of my schedule to show myself I shouldn't be upset I don't draw as much as I want – because I could visually see I didn't have the time during the week, if I wanted to also sleep and workout, etc. I use them personally a lot, just to see what I'm prioritizing and what's getting left undone, and where my interests are leading me or what projects I want to tackle next. They are my brain dump and my list maker.
How about professionally?
I use them for professional projects as well. I'm using a large one right now for the first Skillshare class I'm creating. I was given a few outline forms to help with laying out the class, but I'd have to have 4 pages laid out in front of me at all times just to see the big picture.
It felt very overwhelming and I kept going back trying to reorganize the class because I couldn't wrap my head around it the way it was being laid out. With a mind map, specifically with MindNode – I can see what isn't fleshed out, what needs more outlining, what doesn't have enough b-roll or what slides haven't been made - in one, easily navigable document. Once I had everything laid out, I then started to move each item into parent/child line for each video I'm making to see how they would play out. Where I discuss what, with what tools. It's been the only thing to get me moving forward on this massive project.
Any other examples?
I've laid out writing projects, blog and video ideas, business ideas – the format is insanely fun to use and seems to spur more ideas than typical brainstorming. It also helps me see what not to pursue. If I have an idea for a podcast, I can see how many ideas or topics I can pull out of it, or if the content would dry up fast. I've laid out content calendars that, once visualized, are completely unrealistic. It's great, because seeing that, visualizing the imminent failure of such a plan due to the sheer volume of work on top of my full time job, keeps me from trying to do it and burning out. And I don't blame myself! It was a plan that was doomed to fail, and all the time and effort and disappointment of not accomplishing it – I didn't have to go through any of it. I can SEE before I DO. Like I said to a friend, it's like that red yarn on a wall that ties everything together, without the conspiracy theories. It excites and prepares me for new projects, helps me avoid bad ones, and lets me organize this giant ball of ideas that is my brain.
Do you have any favorite MindNode features?
I LOVE the Tags and tag-highlighting. It’s great to go through and mark what I need to do in each section and then have it auto-populate into a very do-able list. It’s a life saver. And tasks?! VERY satisfying to check off as they're done. I like the little pictures and stuff you can add, but I try not to get caught up in making lists prettier as a form of procrastination, lol.