Book Day!!!

Today it has been a day for the postie to bring me lovely surprises.

First off the door bell rang and I opened it to discover two parcels for me. How exciting!The first was a ‘special delivery’ and contained my Tiffany chain, which had been sent off for repair after it snapped. Marvellous service – free repair and polish and packaged up in a beautiful Tiffany box complete with white ribbon. I can now wear my Tiffany key pendant again! I wear it all the time so I have missed it whilst the chain was away being repaired!

The Prize Pile

The second was a parcel of books that I won in a competition run by the blogger Little Interpretations. I have never won anything before so I am thrilled to have won this as the prize was BOOKS! And you can never have too many books! I am particularly looking forward to the autobiography Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay, who is a wonderful writer and is also partly responsible for me winning the prize ( I submitted a review of Kay to the blog for the competition). After the first batch of books went missing, Marie kindly offered to source replacements – and it was those that arrived today. The blog itself is a fabulous for anyone (like me) who can’t get enough of books! So THANK YOU MARIE. 

The Research Pile

A little later in the afternoon I took delivery of my amazon order. All related to my thesis so I feel justified, but also all look like interesting reads. Lost Voices of the Edwardians is snippets from real people, a recorded social history compiled from letters, journals and other personal writings. A nice one to dip in and out of when I am needing a dose of ‘what life was really like’ (which always helps to prevent me imposing a 21st century sensibility on an early 20th century period.)

Planning Perfection

Also in this parcel was my new 2012 Molesekine Weekly notebook planner … *SIGH*. I have missed using this perfect diary! If it’s so perfect why did you stop using it I hear you cry …. Well, my daughter bought me a lovely diary for Christmas last year so I had no need to buy a Moleskine like usual. But I am such a creature of habit that I am almost relieved to be getting near the end of the diary so I shall be able to use the Moleskine again! I am a fan of these notebooks anyway but the planner is perfect as it has a note page for each week, as well as a notes section at the back, which allows me to compile to do lists and jot down thoughts etc without having to carry around another notebook! Perfection thy name is Moleskine!

Now all that remains for me to do is read all of them! I could be a whole!

Update: My posts about mind mapping and Scrivener generated quite a little debate here and on another website I frequent so it’s good to know that the stuff I choose to share is worthwhile. I really have enjoyed getting feedback and other perspectives on these subjects. Keep them coming.

I am still enjoying Scrivener (on day 5 now so that’s pretty good going for me and new software!) and I can actually see me buying the license when the trial is finished. Sadly I haven’t quite managed to keep up the 1000 words a day effort (unless you count the blogs in which case I am over – yeah!) ! It’s a definite ‘could do better’ on that one I’m afraid! Still, as they say, tomorrow is another day!

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Mind Mapping II

So the last couple of days I have been testing out mind mapping and the best thing I have found is a cheap app for the iPad – at last I have found a real use for the iPad other than playing solitaire city

rather to fiddly and inflexible and space is constricted

I tried paper and pen – using different colours etc and whilst it was a worthwhile process it was fiddly and once you had positioned your word/image it had to stay there so it got very messy after a while and was quite inflexible. On the iPad you can relocate text boxes with a whoosh of a finger. After having a quick go on the  free version I downloaded the upgrade for SimpleMind – and I think it will provide a useful tool when I am just sitting in front of the TV or in bed, and my mind is still racing with ideas. I can save maps, cross reference them and I can even email them to myself which will prove handy – and better still it is paper free!

Whiteboards are brilliant but a little large to carry around with you.

I also have a mind map on my white board which I often look at or add things too – this is also more useful than paper but confined by space. With the iPad the map can grow exponentially and it never becomes an issue of space – you can even overlap separated maps etc … so I can see me finding this very useful

SimpleMind software for iPad makes mind mapping a doddle

The whole thing is very interactive and intuitive and the whole process is now starting to feel productive – and I do like it when something leads to productivity rather than procrastination … It also solves the problem of having to read my handwriting which she I am in a hurry can be rather less than tidy. The other advantage of course is portability – no need to put them in a folder, or to cart around bulky items- they all sit quietly on the iPad until you are able to open them up – and of course there is the added advantage of using them on the go so you never have to lose the thread of idea !

Out of all three methods the iPad is going to prove very useful. I think I will forgo the pen and ink variety and use the whiteboard as a more permanent over view map of the entire project … So thumbs up from me!

Mind Mapping

… is something I hear a lot about and have tried to do myself at the beginning of a new idea. On occasion it has worked wonders and the ideas have flowed out of the connective tissue that I have created between the words, and others time it just looks like a complicated over-tangled mess.

I think the problem with this is I have never really been taught to use this as a productive part of the thinking process. So many people swear by it and I know I should be able to grasp its basics. I envision it like a more complicated game of connections, where you say a word and your opponent replies with the first word they ‘connect’ to the word you have just said. I then try to connect the individual words to each other to try and identify a pattern of sorts. Often the problem seems to be there are too many connections and it becomes an impenetrable mass of language.

The second problem is that when I mind map and then leave it or a while, all the ideas it created initially seem to have been erased in the elapsed time.  The map itself isn’t stable enough to trigger the ideas it created in the first instance … although this can also be a positive thing as it can trigger better ideas maybe?

My final concern is that to create a thorough or ‘stable’ mind map seems to be time consuming (something I never seem to have enough of) – when you google images of mind maps they are incredibly detailed and use multi textual reference points such as abbreviations, images and words, hyperlinks, web clipping etc. There is even software to help you use mind mapping effectively (yet another one of those things I downloaded to help productivity and failed to get to grips with)

In a way this blog today has become a linear mind map about the pros and cons of mind mapping. Or is the term ‘linear mind map’ oxymoronic?

So my day’s dilemma is – if I spend a day training myself to mind map would it be a day well spent or 24 hours I’ll never get back? Mind Map, Mind Flap or Mind Flop? Is mind mapping just another form of procrastination?

I am trialling IMindMap by Think Buzzan.com – I shall post my results on Thursday.