Many years ago I worked for a company that was run and populated by engineers. It was an eye opening experience and a good opportunity to learn to approach problems from a different perspective. Yes, many of the engineers had pocket protectors for their pens, and most used spiral bound notebooks to capture the details of every meeting. And, yes, every office and conference room was equipped with a white board and markers.
The white board is where I learned to think on my feet.
It became the place to brainstorm, mind map, draw charts, clarify thoughts, and detail processes. For Mac users, there’s a wide assortment of mind mapping and notes apps that can perform similar functions, but one of the neatest is Scapple, because it’s more like a true white board– free form, no hierarchy, completely flexible.
Notice the similarity of a typical notebook vs. Scapple.
Or, use Scapple to create a detailed flow of processes or equations.
Or, link items together to create the craziest complex chart you can make.
I love to use Scapple, but not so much for the lengthy list of features (it’s not lengthy), but for the elegance of bringing a white board to a Mac’s screen.
Scapple’s notes can be created instantly and move around with ease (and linked). Fully customize the background, fonts, and colors. It supports MathType, fullscreen in Lion, and saves to iCloud.
This is a good way to learn to think about processes and procedures beyond keeping it all floating around in the head.