Going App$#!t: iThoughts
One might not be able to tell from my desk, but I'm actually kind of an organization freak. Not necessarily a neat freak (though I do love myself a good rug vacuuming), but instead I just like to put everything in its place. No no, this isn't some deep-rooted psychological issue. (This time.) Life can be ... hectic. But despite how fast-paced things are, and how I'm being pulled every which way, I continue to cultivate projects, ideas, and goals up in the vast reaches of my cerebral cortex. But how do I find time to manage the results of all my firing synapses?
Enter iThoughts, a fantastic mind mapping App available on iPhone/iPad, and also on the Mac. Sorry PC pals and Droid dudes (and dudettes), but since most of you have an iDevice, I think you're covered, and if you're not ... well that's irrelevant, isn't it? Oh, but what is a mind map?
A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added.
The beauty of iThoughts is that it allows someone to create a series of customizable mind maps, each with a multitude of connected thoughts, media elements and research. But what makes this specific mind mapping App so great?
The following video will help shed some light on the matter: This App is a great way to augment brainstorms or new business meetings. (Disclosure: I don't condone anyone keeping their noses in their laptops or iDevices, but thankfully iThoughts makes quick work of mind map creation.) In a matter of keystrokes, you can have an intuitive layout of big ideas, each paired with a series of building blocks to achieve your desired goals. Once you leave the brainstorm, you can further flesh out your ideas by using photos from the internet, or links to inspiring online sources (aka "Research" as defined within the App). You can even import text directly from the internet, if you know, you're into that kind of thing. If you're a doodler, you can sketch potential visual ideas for translation into an eventual PowerPoint layout. You can also import images from your internet searches. For those of you who want to foster their knack for visual story telling, you can even use a variety of backgrounds, colors, text styles and icons to further along your mind map.
So, you've just made all this effort to put all your thoughts on your mind map, but it's living on your iPhone or iPad–now what? You have a variety of options. You can fully archive your mind maps to Dropbox (or a similar medium), and/or you can sync via the cloud with your other devices that are running the App. You can also share the map as PDF, image, or Microsoft office document (just to name a few). Personally, I recommend all of the above. I'm a stickler when it comes to important files and always want to assure that all my bases are covered when it comes to digital back up. You should be too. Life happens, and when it does, it can be a real rude jerk.
Do you want different mind maps for every client or plan? Of course you do. Setting up individual mind maps for each and every subject you have is easy, and switching between them doesn't take more than a few seconds. (You can also trash old maps you no longer need.) And do you find yourself being a little verbose? We've all been there. While laying out your mind map with simple phrases and images, you can hide larger sections of text within a "note." The note screen functions like a shade you pull down from the top of the App. Once you are in note mode, the text within it overlays your mind map allowing you to read the text cleanly. Once you're done adding or editing, you can simply swipe the shade up, and you're back to your mind map.
Overall, iThoughts is a fantastic tool for those among us who like to keep numerous thoughts and projects brewing and want to continue developing everything simultaneously. The interface is clean and user friendly, both in creating and editing content and maneuvering throughout the App itself. The only point that might make App adopters balk is the price (it's currently available for 9.99 on Apple's App store). However, don't let the price tag scare you away. I've already gotten far more than my money's worth from the organizational capabilities this App offers up. But don't take just my word for the quality of this App—swing on by the App store to learn more and read about its 4.5 star rating. Also, a little birdie has told me that it will be on sale for 80% off potentially on October 24th. Adopt away, kiddos.
* Prices as of October 22, 2014