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PersonalBrain vs. Mindmapping

When I started using PersonalBrain sometimes I was unclear about when to use PersonalBrain or when to use a more traditional mindmapping tool like Freemind or MindJet. Now I think I can break it down pretty simply to this:

PersonalBrain is for research, learning and long-term planning. Mindmapping is for brainstorming.

The two tools overlap and can be used for either purpose, but I find that generalizing helps make the decision of which software to use quick and more intuitive.

An example where I prefer Mindmapping: If I’m starting a project such as building a website I use Freemind to quickly lay out the potential navigation, what content will go where and even the contact information for the involved parties. The information I need is limited in context and fairly isolated. It’s useful in the time that I’m building the website but it’s likely that I won’t need to revisit it in the future. It also helps to be able to see it all at a glance–Mindmaps are great for this.

Examples of where I prefer PersonalBrain: Pretty much everything else :). If I’m reading a book and taking notes, I use Personal Brain. If I’m taking notes on an article or planning out my future I use PersonalBrain. Philosophical or political information goes into PersonalBrain. All of this is information I’m likely to want to go back to and that is likely to connect to other bits of information and help with me be more creative, recognize patterns, and recall what I’ve learned.

That’s how I differentiate between what goes where. If you’ve got another way of doing it, I’m curious to learn about it!


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  1. Michael Baas
    July 28, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    Agreed. I use MindManager for brainstorming/structuring/understanding _one_ topic, whereas PersonalBrain is used to map the entire ‘landscape of thoughts’ in which this topic is embedded etc.

  2. Dee
    October 10, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Thank you. This is really good information on practical use of the tools.


  1. Marcus Vorwaller: PersonalBrain vs. Mindmapping « Bladewriter Blog - July 19, 2008

    [...] Vorwaller: PersonalBrain vs. Mindmapping in his first post, Vorwaller says: PersonalBrain is for research, learning and long-term planning. Mindmapping is for [...]

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