Expert Time Management Interview: Mind Mapping with Matt Tanguay

Expert Time Management Interview: Mind Mapping with Matt Tanguay

Matt Tanguay

If there is one productivity-enhancing technique that I haven’t utilized as much as I wanted and that is mind mapping.

Sure, I have done some basic mind mapping with pen and paper and I even have a MindMeister (aff-link) account , however, I haven’t been as active with mind mapping as I should have.

Well, I hope that this is changed now, because I recorded a very interesting interview with Matt Tanguay of Fluent Brain.

Matt is an expert when it comes to mind mapping and in fact, he answered many of my questions by using mind maps!

Anyway, check out the interview and let me know what you think!


  • Video length: 31:08

Interview Questions:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself (1:25)
  • Why should you learn about mind mapping and why is it beneficial for an entrepreneur? (06:49)
  • What about productivity, in which ways does mind mapping support your productivity? (12:01)
  • What are the steps to take when starting out with mind mapping? (14:41)
  • What functionality should you look for when selecting a mind mapping tool? (19:43)
  • How can mind mapping help you with organizing your blogging? Is it possible to utilize the power of mind mapping in this context? Could you show a demo of this? (22:34)
Key Takeaways:
  • Mind mapping is not for everyone
  • It’s a subset of visual thinking
  • Mind mapping is a great way to capture and organize information
  • A relevant way when developing/building something, like a project, a product, a service …
  • Mind mapping supports your productivity by improving your planning and developing something new (a project …)
    • It can even be used like a GTD-like productivity system
  • Starting out with mind mapping
    • Use colored pens and paper first if you are new to mind mapping (and learn the basics that way)
    • Draw simple pictures as well
    • Draw a central bubble and the sub-bubbles under around the main bubble and connect them with a line
    • Mind mapping on paper helps you to remember things better
    • Watch videos online to learn more
    • Learn by reading (Idea Mapping by Jamie Nast)
    • You can bend the rules and learn by experimenting
  • Mind mapping software (see the link on the show notes)
    • Xmind
    • MindMeister
    • MindManager
    • MindGenius
    • iMindMap
    • MindMaple
    • Novamind
  • Tool selection criteria
    • I should be able to export the map as PDF file
    • Floating topics support
    • Good control over the formatting (ability to set colors, text sizes …)
  • Use mind mapping for creating the structure for your posts
Transcription: Not yet available
  • I find that I prefer using pen and paper for mind mapping. I’ve tried a couple different software solutions for it, but it just doesn’t seem to work the same. There is something about the pen and paper…

    I know that they are easier to maintain in software, but I usually only use them to get my head wrapped around a concept or plan things out.

    I guess even techies like me can have some things that they like to do old school 8=)

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Bill!

      Yeah, there is nothing wrong with pen and paper and I have done it myself too :)

      However, I’m in a process of testing some tools and see how they work out.


    • Hey Bill,

      I still mind map on paper as well : ) I do it especially when on a short call with someone, in a face-to-face meeting with one person, or when I am starting to think about an idea or project.

      Then, I usually transfer those notes to a computer mind map when I have a chance. It’s easier to search through it, or organize it that way.



      • Timo Kiander

        Hi Matt!

        Great, thanks for the tip!


  • Dear Timo,

    Thanks for the interview and your takeaways.

    I train people to become practical and smart mindmap users as well.

    I would like to add to the interview by saying that you should not be overwhelmed by the number of tools. Just use a tool that does the trick for you. After all, you don’t want to become a superstar in mind mapping, you just want a tool that helps you to become more productive, right? :)

    I would suggest you try Mindmanager (expensive but has lots of features), MindMapper (great tool that is sadly undervalued because it doesn’t return in many tool overviews), XMind (multi platform and works with Mindmanager and MindMeister (if you want to do online mind mapping and share maps easily)

    What I do with mind maps is mostly organize my tasks (writing, training, project planning and execution).

    For this, I only have a couple of mindmaps. These are the templates that get me started really fast and help me do the things I need to do.

    Had I left out things in the past when I was writing or preparing for a training, that doesn’t happen anymore because the mindmap is both a checklist as well as a ‘form’ that I can add my thoughts, information and ideas onto.

    Hope this helps you as well.

    (by the way, I think you will also like the article I wrote on the lies that people tell about mind mapping. Have a look at my website if you like).

    Again, many thanks!

    Best regards,


    • Timo Kiander


      Thank you for your valuable comment!

      I’ll definitely check out the article you mentioned.

      And sure, I don’t want to become a mind mapping expert – only want to improve my productivity with mind mapping :)


  • I love displayed thinking but I’m a little sad to say I never use it.

    My mind mapping journey began with studying Tony Buzan’s fabulous mind mapping books. His software (imindmap) for putting these together was awesome, more visually beautiful than what I switched to, as well but I can’t remember the one thing it wouldn’t do that made me switch back to MindManager.

    The one thing I found Mind Mapping incredibly useful for was taking notes on content I was studying. I remember amazing myself at how I could remember facts from a book simply by writing them down short hand/one or two word notes the way Tony recommends.

    But I got away from taking notes like this for my site because while the one-two word branches work extremely well for your own personal reference on content you’ve already consumed and are reviewing again, they leave someone who’s new to the content, who has zero previous perspective/recollection, completely in the dark – it’s almost like it’s written in a cryptic code.

    But for your own personal notes, you trying to maximize the time spent learning, I can not recommend Mind Mapping highly enough. Writing long drawn out sentence notes takes a long time and disorganized chicken scratch notes on a bunch of random pieces of paper are pretty much useless and I believe people know this and leads to them not taking notes at all because they associate more pain than pleasure to the process.

    So for anyone who wants to make the little time you have to study productive, give mind mapping a test. I’m sure at first you’ll be slower at it because it’s new, but I flat out guarantee you’ll remember more of what you consumed AND you’ll be able to reinforce what you’ve learned in the future quickly because you’ve laid it out in an appealing fashion which is easily scan-able.

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Lewis!

      > they leave someone who’s new to the content, who has zero previous perspective/recollection, completely in the dark

      I agree. Sometimes when I look at mind maps as an outsider, it’s very difficult to make sense of them (at least some of the mind maps).

      At the same time, I’m willing to test how mind mapping works (for instance when learning new things), so I’m hoping to write a follow-up post / record a video later how it has improved my productivity.


  • Another Awesome Interview Timo. Superb.
    Thanks for hosting this.

    • Timo Kiander

      Sure Amit!

      Thank you for your comments :)

      Anyway, look out for other great interviews coming out soon!


  • Nice blog post and interview.

    Matt is my coach for my new startup. His advices and expertise is really helpfull and I really feal it brings me a lot of value.


    • Timo Kiander

      Hi Micael!

      You are in good hands :)

      And great to hear you liked the interview :)