Capturing ideas is important. FreeMind is becoming an ever more valuable tool for this. I added it to my auto-start applications so it’s always available to catch ideas as they occur. Also, it gives me a central, convenient place to transfer pen-and-paper notes.
I have three computers that I use regularly. I use a sticky-note application called Tomboy to record my thoughts and ideas. It works well, but I end up with three idea databases: one on each computer. I’ve tried synchronizing to the same folder, but always get an error message saying that the app was unable to synchronize. There’s probably a simple fix for this, but I haven’t found it. Enter FreeMind.
My current project is figuring out how to use WordPress and manage my blog. When an idea comes to me, I go to FreeMind and look for a primary node (blue) to attach it to. If there’s no obvious candidate, I have a bucket (node) called ideas. I don’t want to spend much time thinking about an idea; I just don’t want it to get away. There will be plenty of time later to go through, expand upon, and analyze. If an idea ends up in the idea node, it means it didn’t fit in an existing primary node. Do I need to add a primary node? Can I expand on the idea and come up with things that do fit in existing primary nodes? Or, is it simply a distraction or an idea that belongs in a different project? The ability to see whether and idea belongs to a project or not is powerful. It keeps things focused and makes it obvious when a project expands beyond its boundaries.
A huge benefit to using FreeMind is that I now have one database. My computers are networked. The one that acts as server has a large hard drive that is ideal for storing the content for my various projects. No matter which computer I’m working at, I can open one FreeMind project file that lives on that drive. All of my ideas and plans get stored in one place and are available on whichever machine I’m using.
Next: Freemind keyboard shortcuts (the important few), Content is precious: protect it.