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iMindMap Blog

How to find a Work/Life balance with iMindMap

With iMindMap 5 at the forefront of everyone’s minds at ThinkBuzan, days are starting earlier and finishing later, and our developers are a hair’s breadth from bringing sleeping bags to work.  Every provision has been made to make the office feel more homely for those burning the midnight oil (we now have a pool table, sofas and a fully stocked snack corner).

Despite the good mood and energy in the office, this trend of ‘workaholism’ in the organisation has got us thinking about that clichéd concept of a work/life balance.  Is it possible to have the rewarding career and still maintain a fulfilling home life?  How can we have it all?  Read on for a quick exercise to help find that elusive balance.

A good place to start on the road to a more zen-like existence is to get a picture of exactly where you are right now.  Start a Mind Map in iMindMap, or on paper, with all things work-related on one side and everything non-work on the other.  Map out all of the issues you are facing, concerns keeping you awake at night, big projects you are working on, plans you have, aspirations – anything that is occupying your thoughts and your time in both areas of your life.  Now stand back.  What does that picture look like to you?  A smidge lopsided perhap?

Work/Life Balance

If so, fear not!  Now you can see what you’ve got to work with – and clarity is a marvellous tonic for the frazzled mind. Once you realise how much of your time and mental energy is being taken up by one area of your life, you can begin to reassess your priorities and think about what you need to devote more time to.  I, for example, evidently don’t spend enough time exercising, with my family or my friends, or getting any closer to a fluency in Italian.

Go through your map, both sides of it, and delete anything that is a non-negotiable.  For example, feeding the kids, or a work duty that you would get fired for not doing.  We want to re-balance our lives not cause chaos after all.  Looking through the remaining  branches, really think about what you need in your life to make you happy.  What would you regret not doing when you look back on these years?  Drag these branches and drop them onto a new main branch – ‘Essentials’.

These are your priorities and these are what you should build your time around.  If you want to achieve more of a balance, brutal prioritising is the only way to do it.  Make sure every day you are focusing on at least one of your essentials – be that getting into shape, writing your first novel, spending time with your family, whatever you’ve decided is most important to you.

Work/Life Balance with Essentials Mind Map

Next time the clock is ticking past 6pm and you’re sat at your desk about to start on another task, ask yourself is getting that task done there and then is the most important and beneficial thing you could be doing with that time?  Perhaps you could be using your time more efficiently – giving yourself firm deadlines can encourage you to find faster and more effective ways of working.

Be strict with yourself, because whilst we are all wrapped up in iMindMap 5, and missing out on one gym session, or one dinner with friends, doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it does form the beginnings of a habit.  It’s these seemingly small choices that snowball and lead to a slightly wobbly layer around our middle, a stack of unread books next to our bed, and a knowledge of Italian that extends as far as ‘spaghetti per favore’.

In the spirit of breaking the habit, our CEO Chris Griffiths has just announced that we are all, without exception, to be out of the office early to go for a company meal and let off some steam – progress already!  Although, we might just put off the gym a little while longer – maybe til after April 6th…

For more ideas on how you can use iMindMap, take a look at the articles and resources in the Business Solutions area of our website.

iMindMap 5 Update from Chris Griffiths

Following on from the fantastic ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor course last week, we have more news on iMindMap 5.  As the first group to really put every feature of iMindMap 5 through its paces in an intense training setting, we knew the TLIs would be in a unique position to give us feedback.

As a result of this feedback and reactions from our large pool of Beta Testers, and after a lot of discussion back at ThinkBuzan HQ, we have decided that there is more we can do.  We asked for feedback, we listened to the feedback, and now we are eager to act on the feedback.  In the interest of making iMindMap 5 the dynamite piece of software we know it can be, we will be further developing and adding to certain areas of the tool.

This does mean that release of iMindMap 5 will be delayed a short while, and will not be ready for launch in February.  However, we see this as a very positive change, as we are creating an even better product for you – directly responding to the feedback and suggestions of some of our most dedicated users.  We value serving the needs of our users, and releasing the best quality software, far above getting it on sale fast.

iMindMap 5 will launch…

April 6th 2011

I would like to thank you all for your patience and can promise you that the wait will be worth it! I would also like to thank our new TLIs and the Beta Testers for their great ideas and invaluable contribution to iMindMap 5.

Chris Griffiths, CEO


The London ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor Course

Last week saw the first ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor (TLI) course to be held in London.  Gracing the elegant streets of Mayfair, the sold out course took place over 4 days at the Hilton on Park Lane Hotel.  Doubling up as the debut of iMindMap 5, a heady mixture of nerves and excitement could be felt at ThinkBuzan in the days running up to the course!

We had an excellent mix of attendees in London, with some from educational and lecturing backgrounds, civil engineering, business, tourism and even a representative from Sony.  The dynamic group gave colour and meaning to the theory being taught by offering insights and examples from their own professions.

When asked to provide feedback on the course across all areas, from content and course leaders, to the venue facilities, the response was enthusiastically positive with an average rating of 96%!

Tony Buzan opening the London TLI

“I think the impact of those four days will stay with us all and transform how we work in the future.  It was a real pleasure to meet you and having the opportunity to work alongside like-minded people was a breath of fresh air.”

Sue Baker, Gifted and Talented Coordinator

The TLI covered a breadth of topics over the 4 days, from Chris Griffiths on the impact of technology on thinking, to generating great ideas.  Tony got the course off to a characteristically rousing start on the first morning, introducing Mind Mapping, creativity and the brain’s potential.  The group were also given the chance to ask Tony any questions they had in a lively Q & A session.

ThinkBuzan's Emily and Owen with Oriol Marimón-Clos

“Excellent personable team – demonstrated a depth of knowledge.  Thank you very much for all your teaching, support and humour.”

Fiona Stephen, Nutrition Consultant

An internationally renowned speaker, Tony spends the majority of his time globe trotting – so we were very lucky to pin him down long enough to open the TLI course in London and let the new class of TLIs learn from the master.  He will also be attending the TLI in Dubai next month, for any of you attending the next course, fresh from a month in Kenya working on his new books.

Tony Buzan with Philippe Packu from Sony

“What I learned from Tony, Chris, Emily and Owen, and in fact everyone else, has formed a very inspirational, positive place in my developing mind.  I look forward to drawing on that resource, on that seed of wisdom, and nurturing it.”

Carl Peters,

The TLI group had the advantage of being the first ever to get trained and accredited on iMindMap 5.  Whilst still in its Beta stage, the group got to really explore the software and loved the new features – particularly 3D View and SmartLayout.

We also had guest speakers as a special treat for London.  Henry Toi, from Buzan Centres Asia, gave a talk on Mind Mapping within Education, and Simon Pearson from Puzzlebox Potential generously shared his own story and experiences of Mind Mapping.

Tony and Chris with Simon and Nick from Puzzlebox

“TLI was a wonderful week and a life changing experience.”

Simon Pearson, Puzzlebox Potential

A truly interactive experience, the TLI course gets the group contributing and applying the skills learnt throughout – and this doesn’t just apply to mental challenges…

Mohammed and Fiona juggling

“The TLI course is not only learning and meeting fantastic people. It’s also fun!”

Oriol Marimón-Clos, co-founder of 3 Day Startups

Our newly graduated class of ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructors are eager and motivated to get back to their varied careers and applying the knowledge and skills they have acquired to transform the way they and their colleagues work.  As Sue baker said, it ‘gave me so many ideas to develop’.

As accredited trainers they can also now run their own courses on applied innovation and iMindMap 5.  This will definitely not be the last you here from our new TLIs who have an exciting arsenal of plans about to be put in motion.  From transforming the face of education in Britain and Oman, to building communication networks in Africa, the ambitions of a ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor may be varied but share a drive to change and innovate.

The Hilton from Hyde Park

“I would like to thank you all for a unique experience in terms of learning and understanding the TLI mission.”

Nisha Sood, Education in Oman

We would like to thank the new TLIs for being one of the most dynamic and inspiring groups that we have worked with and we look forward to a rewarding relationship with them going forward.

If you would like to see more photos from the TLI in London, you can find them on Flickr.

The Next TLI Course – Dubai

Dubai TLI with Tony BuzanOur next course is at the gorgeous Oasis Beach Tower Hotel in Jumeirah Beach, Dubai from the 6th to 9th March and there are only 6 remaining spaces.

If you want to experience the ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor Course, then book quickly – we have limited space and will be closing the bookings very soon.

Find out more on the TLI in Dubai

Contact us at, or call us on  +44 (0) 20 71 177 173, 1–800–961–4582 (US)

Mind Mapping – the Coffee Alternative at Warwick University

Warwick University logo

We spoke to Paul Roberts – Principle Fellow at the International Manufacturing Centre, Warwick University – to find out how he uses Mind Mapping to teach his masters and doctoral students.  Specialising in management, creating business excellence, strategic deployment and knowledge management, Paul uses some unorthodox techniques to get his students alert and involved in lectures.

Paul first discovered Mind Mapping in the early 90s and began using it for work from the word go, in particular as part of his unconventional teaching style.  Paul advocates ‘facilitating learning’ as opposed to lecturing in the traditional style.

Using a combination of short bursts of teaching, and team based problem solving; Paul encourages his students to learn through discovery rather than sitting in ‘receive mode’ all day.  His workshops more closely resemble a nursery style of learning – ie ‘playing’- absorbing the knowledge without knowing it’s happening.

One of the ways Mind Mapping is incorporated is when he gets his students to summarise the key points of a topic they have just covered; drawing together their shared knowledge into one Mind Map.

His methods are a stark change from what his students are used to, requiring a more challenging level of participation than the usual lecture format.  However, they appreciate the benefits, with one honest attendee admitting with surprise that they ‘didn’t fall asleep once’.

Mind Mapping is a new concept to most of Paul’s students when he introduces it in his Research Methodology module, but they pick it up fast.  Within 30 minutes they can get a sense of how intuitive the technique really is; with some emailing him afterwards claiming that ‘this has transformed my learning’.

Paul described a time when one of his doctoral students had hit a brick wall with his doctorate – he had a complete mental blank and couldn’t produce any written work at all.  Paul called him to his office and, using an interactive whiteboard, they Mind Mapped out his whole doctoral project on one page.  He had a complete picture of how his doctorate would look and from that day forward it just flowed.  He went on to produce a dissertation of over 150,000 words – all from the one Mind Map.

An ‘extremely powerful visual mechanism’, Paul also uses Mind Mapping to assess students’ work.  When given a dissertation by one of his students, he sat down, Mind Mapped the contents page and using this to compare with the actual content, he picked out what was missing from it in under thirty minutes – no mean feat!

Paul finds that Mind Mapping not only saves him time and makes him more efficient, but also helps him to get the best results out of his students.  Paul’s interactive learning experience may be more demanding than passively listening to someone talk for an hour, but for the typical student we’d bet it’s also a refreshing alternative to knocking back the coffees and just trying to keep your eyes open…

3D Mind Map of why Mind Maps are better than coffee

For more ideas on how to apply Mind Mapping and iMindMap in education, take a look at the Education area of our website.  If you want to share your experiences with us too – we would love to hear them, so add a Comment below or submit a ticket through the website and we can have a chat about it.

Tony Buzan in Shortlist Magazine

Shortlist Magazine coverPopular men’s lifestyle magazine, Shortlist, came out today with an article featuring Tony Buzan.  Tony spoke with Shortlist about combating the age-old conundrum ‘Now where did I leave my keys…?’

Who better to help absent-minded men (and women) everywhere, than the man who literally wrote the book on memory?  Read on to get the tips…

Shortlist Magazine  – 3rd February 2011

Sick of that ‘where’s my wallet’ feeling?  We asked Tony Buzan, creator of Mind Maps and founder of the World Memory Championships ( to jog our minds.

“Put down your keys, wallet and phone in the same place every time,” he says.  “Give them a ‘memory home’.  It seems obvious, because it is, but you probably don’t do it.”

Senses are very important.  “When you put down the remote control, make sure you look at it.  Remember the feel of it and the sound it makes when you put it down.

“Work on your imagination and association skills,” he continues.  “Practise visualising objects and places, and make connections between them.  The more connections you make, the more routes to the memory you’ll have.”

Stick to the healthy body, healthy mind mantra.  “Keeping fit means more oxygen gets to your brain,” Buzan adds.  “Make a hobby of your memory.  If you train it well, it can improve as you get older.  There is no excuse for scratching your head, wondering where you left the car.”

How Not To Forget Where You Put Something article

What’s new in iMindMap 5 – the Video

Watch the second of our brand new videos, for the experienced iMindMap user, to see Ben showcase the new iMindMap 5 software features as he uses them at home and at work, and find out why you should really think about upgrading!

What’s New in iMindMap 5?

Like the video?  Then share it with your friends and colleagues!  Keep checking in too – the full iMindMap 5 feature breakdown is coming soon…

Quick offer update…

We have some exclusive upgrade offers for our existing iMindMap users and we will be filling you in on all the details very soon!  Take a look at the iMindMap 5 page for more information.

Meet Ben – A Day in the Life of an iMindMap 5 User

Watch our brand new video to see how our creative and unflappable Ben uses iMindMap 5 throughout his day, and find out how you could incorporate it into your life.

Meet Ben – the iMindMap 5 User

Click here to view on YouTube.

Like the videos?  Then share them with your friends and colleagues!  Keep checking in too – the full iMindMap 5 feature breakdown is coming soon…

Quick offer update…

If you’re starting to think iMindMap 5 might be just what you’re looking for, remember that you can save money by buying iMindMap v4 before launch on April 6th and you will receive a free upgrade to iMindMap 5 on release plus 3 months free access to iMindMap Online – makes no sense to wait. Take a look at the iMindMap 5 page for more details.

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