Mind mapping is a powerful productivity habit for lawyers with ADHD.
In this podcast episode and the corresponding YouTube video, we walk through through mind mapping for productivity, including the basics, when and how to use it, and some great software tools to help you get started. We also talk about other resources to learn more about mind mapping and do a deep-dive into MindNode, one specific mind mapping tool that Marshall uses frequently as a lawyer with ADD to get started with brainstorming, outlining, and finishing projects.
“Mind mapping is six times better for remembering information than words alone.”
“You can remember more. You can solve problems more creatively. You can capture your ideas and organize your thoughts and concepts, develop and enhance your creativity, work faster, juggle more complex projects, and improve learning and memory by 10 to 15% over traditional note-taking.”
Mind Mapping Tools Mentioned in this Episode
- Microsoft Visio
Additional Mind Mapping Resources
- Tony Buzan’s TED Talk
- Lawyerist.com on Mind Mapping
- Mind Map Art (“Showcasing the world’s finest mind maps”)
- The Complete Guide on How to Mind Map for Beginners
- The Best Mind Mapping Software on G2
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Hey, you all! I'm Marshall Lichty, and I'm here with TheJDHD.com.
Today our entire purpose in life is to talk about some tools and tricks that work for productivity for lawyers with ADHD. So this is going to be really quick episode and the goal is to talk about mind mapping.
Now, if you're listening on the podcast, I've got a video that I'm going to be posting on YouTube with the same audio and a visual where I'm screen sharing my mind map so that everybody can take a peek. So I'll try and walk through so that podcasters can benefit and also to make sure that people who are watching online can also see it.
I want to talk about mind mapping. Mind mapping was an idea that came to me literally because it was prescribed for my son when he was diagnosed with ADHD. And so I use a tool called MindNode, but there are others. You can use a pencil and paper and a bunch of other things. So let's dive in.
First of all, what is mind mapping?
Well the first thing I can say about mind mapping is that it's usually a diagram and it's often structured like a tree because it's a way of capturing ideas in all kinds of different spaces. The structure of a mind map can differ rather dramatically, but typically you've got your main topic centered right in the middle of the page and then you break it down into subtopics. And then from there related ideas, sub-subtopics, related ideas from there, and so on and so forth.
And as you branch out, your branches get smaller and smaller and more detailed and it's a great way to capture your thoughts and ideas visually. It's a great way to bring ideas to life. It's a great way to plan things.
For me, project planning really benefits from mind mapping when I write briefs or pitches, strategy, other kinds of meetings that I'm planning, it can be a great tool because it just helps me capture all of the inputs that might go into it.
And then again, it just helps you visualize what you're actually working on. So you can see the ideas in a format that's different than a typical outline or in just a wall of words or letters that we sometimes use when we're just drafting straight into like Microsoft Word for example.
And then finally, especially for lawyers with ADHD, it's really, really brain friendly. This a super simple way to capture ideas in a way that works for our brains.
So next, why? Why would we use a tool when brainstorming works or taking notes or whatever works? Well, first of all, a prescription. So for my son he was literally prescribed mind mapping. Here's a screenshot of his actual diagnosis.
“Utilizing mind mapping in academic settings may help Everett visually organize information, allowing him to see relationships among pieces of a larger gestalt concept. So in the center of a piece of paper, write down the concept or the topic to be addressed. And then using images and concepts and codes and symbols build the map so that he can visualize the topic.”Gary Johnson, Ph.D
So for us, it's a very real part of our kid's ADHD. It's more effective than other brainstorming and linear note-taking. They're memorable to create and share and review. They're enjoyable to create and share and review.
And they say that it's six times better for remembering information than with words alone. For folks with ADHD, it's great because it's intuitive.
Mind mapping works the way that our brains do. It links concepts naturally and it makes natural associations build together, helps you create more ideas, gives them deeper meaning. And it allows you to see the gaps in your reasoning or your thinking or your brainstorming, which then prompts more thinking and prompts more research.
You can remember more. You can solve problems more creatively. You can capture your ideas and organize your thoughts and concepts, develop and enhance your creativity, work faster, juggle more complex projects, and improve learning and memory by 10 to 15% over traditional note-taking. So pretty compelling stuff there.
So how do we do it? Well, we're looking at it right now. First of all, use color and connections and keywords and place your central image or word concept right in the center of the mind map. It actually helps your brain literally see more of the page and it allows you to be creative when you push those ideas out to the edges of the paper. So it's actually a physical reminder of the fact that your brain can go literally anywhere with this idea, which I love Add main branches to organize those ideas about your subject. Start with who, what, when, where, why, how, and then add more detail by adding smaller branches, keywords from those main branches. Remember to keep your keywords short, not big long phrases and use color and images and pictures and screenshots throughout it.
Here I'll show you how to use the links. So for us, obviously you can go to TheJDHD.com or TheJDHD.com/10-day-course. You can include them in your mind map, which makes it really helpful for later research or digging down on an idea that you had already put in the mind map. So the next time you're stuck on a problem, why don't you give it a try? Turn your paper sideways… The landscape format. Start in the center to give your brain permission to spread in every and then use an image or a picture for your central idea. The thinking is that curved lines, not straight lines, actually helps. I'm not sure how much, but play around with it. I like it, it looks beautiful. And then just try some of those early branches: who, what, why, when, where, how, etc. And then follow each thread down to its conclusion.
Alright, so I'd like to take a look over here at when do I do it? Well, I mentioned this a little bit before. I do it in all kinds of different scenarios. My son and I have mind mapped the MLB divisions, the different leagues, and then the different teams and their players and positions and things. I love using it for note-taking: depositions, client meetings, oral arguments, and contract review. It helps me organize briefs for brief writing. It helps me with key strategy or studying a new subject, building habits, creating a knowledge base, group brainstorming. I love it for group brainstorming. In fact, I'm presenting in a CLE very shortly and that's literally my whole purpose. It's to help the group brainstorm in the very beginning of the CLE. I use it for interactive presentations, timelines, marketing projects, a personal favorite of mine, customer journey maps, goal setting, etc.
So what about the tools? Well, the very basic part is you can do with anything. You can do with a paper and pen, and that's how my son and I typically start doing it. Although you might decide that for you, that's not the ideal way to do it. So you could grab your tablet and use a writing app on your tablet that lets you do some creative sketching or whatever. I use my tablet often, but I actually have a software tool that we're going to deep dive into shortly here that helps me do it on my tablet. Or you can use a software tool. So we'll dive into a few of them here. There are many and I've only tried a few. I have strong feelings that the one I'm using right now is awesome. But that doesn't mean it's the best. It just means that it's great for me. Mindnode, Xmind, WiseMapping, Mindomo, Coggle, OmniGraffle, lucid chart, Microsoft Vizio is a great tool, MindMeister, and Poplet. I have links to those in the YouTube video and also have them in the show notes.
I want to focus for just a second on MindNode, because that's the tool that I'm using right now. I love it. It's really wonderful for me and the way that my mind works. Here's the link. It's Mac only. It does cost money. I didn't find it prohibitively expensive but it's beautiful. It has this focus mode that I've been showing you so you can go back here and focus in here and it will make sure that the whole screen focuses on what you want to see, what you want to focus on instead of maybe letting your mind get lost in the entire mind map itself. It has what they call smart layouts. You can share it in a variety of ways including in a mind node file but also PDF. You can do it in an outline form and then you can track your progress.
So I really love using tracking progress. You can tick off lists on your to do list if you so choose. It's got this automatic layout. You can use dark mode and your syncing is, is excellent and available across all of your different platforms, particularly if you're in a Mac environment exclusively. So I love MindNode. I think it's great. And there are others out there. There's no benefit for me telling you that it's awesome, but it's pretty awesome. So if you're thinking about toying around that might be a good place to start.
And then finally, some other resources mind mapping. Mind-mapping.org has a bunch of lovely tools and resources and a bunch of other things that you can goof around with. Tony Busan is the originator of the idea of mind mapping and actually he has a trademark on the word “mind map.” He has a Ted talk that he did and the link is right here. Lawyerist has a great bit on mind mapping as a client communication tool and you can click on that link. MindMapArt is gorgeous. There's a ton of beautiful drawings, usually hand drawn that are gorgeous and show a beautiful way to do some mind mapping. And then how to mind map. And then over here G2 does mind map software ratings. So you could go there and check them out and see which ones are most highly rated by people like you. And then finally Mappio.com. So there it is. That is really mind mapping in a nutshell and I just wanted to give you a look at it because I use it every day in my life and it has really improved my productivity and helps me think in a lot of cool ways. There you go. Mind mapping, using MindNode, from TheJDHD.com. Thanks so much. Take care.