How Mind Mapping Helps My ADD
Today has been a major ADD Brain day. I'm not just using the term “ADD Brain” because it's catchy or hip to claim you have ADD in 2016. I'm using it because I have major ADD, though I'm unmedicated. Why? Because medication takes all my creativity away! Literally the moment I take medication, all my awesomecrazywonderfulweird ideas go out the window. I can't live like that, and I'm no good at blogging like that, so I live with ADD instead. Living with ADD isn't like living with a debilitating disease or anything, but shit can get out of control real fast if you don't keep it in check. Living with ADD means I forget to pay bills unless I set several reminders; it means I will switch projects 100 times and never finish any of them (oh you haven't noticed? ;) ). It means my life is chaotic but in a fun way.
However, real life does have to get taken care of, so no matter how hard adulting with ADD is, you have to figure out a way to handle it. For me, that's mind mapping. Now, I won't lie… I don't use mind mapping every day (though that would be a great idea!), but if I am working on a project, it helps get me organized-ish. That might mean I have 15 mind maps going at once, but at least I can dig through them and find something. You can do mind mapping online or on paper. For me, it's paper and only paper. I've tried online mind mapping tools and it's a hot mess.
I won't get too technical on you, but mind mapping helps those of us with ADD in many ways, for several reasons. Most of us ADDers have a crazy amount of creativity swirling around in our brain at any given time (usually at bed time, amiright?). Because of that, we can't focus on any one thing. Mind mapping helps us brain dump, which frees up enough space to focus on one subject for a little longer than usual. Mind mapping is generally done with a pencil and paper, because it's easier to brain dump that way.
Brain dumping is useful because you don't have to agonize over prioritizing, organizing, etc. You don't get boxed into any type of structure (draw as many circles or shapes as you want, and keep adding!), and you can use it for literally anything. I'm talking grocery store lists (I organize by aisle), school projects (especially studying for tests), and anything blog or business related. With mind mapping, you skip the perfection and just go for it. That way, at least something gets finished… even if it's just the mind map. ;)
What is Mind Mapping? How Should I Use It?
Use mind mapping in any way you find helpful! Mind maps help you clear your brain and connect to your creativity. Studies show that combining words with images makes you 6 times more likely to remember something. This is especially helpful for students with ADD. Start with a main idea, and expand from there. You can expand as little or as much as you want, and you can always come back to it later. I have a little binder full of mind maps, so when I'm running low on blog post ideas, I can pull one out and get it started. It's much easier than starting from scratch each time!
Sometimes when I'm looking for new blogging ideas, I'll just log into StumbleUpon and start “thumbs up”ing things. Eventually, I have a ton and my brain is in overdrive! Then, I'll get out a piece of paper and feverishly scribble down all of my ideas at once. I'll come back to them later and make them into actual blog posts.
Gallery of Mind Maps – This is a super helpful visual aid to get you started with mind mapping!
Webbing – Similar to mind mapping, but a little more organized. Might be worth looking into.
Mind Map Library – Lots of examples of mind maps to get your creativity flowing.
Free Mind Mapping Apps and Online Tools
Mind42 – Free online mind mapping software. You can share your mind maps with others as well.
bubbl.us – Free (up to 3 maps), available on iPhone, can share mind maps.
The Brain – Free mind mapping software (download), very simple and kind of boring but great for the organized user. I need more colors and images! :)
FreeMind – Basic/simple free mind mapping tool. Again, not “pretty” enough for my liking but many are successful with it.
RecallPlus – Free mind mapping tool designed for studying.
Wise Mapping – Another great free mind mapping tool.
Mind Map – A Google Chrome extension for mind mapping.
Spider Scribe – One of my favorite free mind mapping tools, more visual than most. Combine elements like text, images, files, calendar events, and geographic locations.
All of the tools listed above are FREE, and whether you like them or not will be solely based on personal preference. They all have great reviews and many happy users!