#069: MIND-MAPPING IN TRADING: A POWERFUL VISUAL TOOL
One of the tools I swear by in trading and with which I work every day (in many ways, as I will explain later) are mind maps or so-called "mind-mapping". This simple tool is helping me personally in many ways – from structuring and clarification of new ideas, to building simple, visual check-lists.
Mind-maps aren’t new; many of you already work successfully with this tool. In present days there is also a lot of software available, from complex PC solutions, to mobile and cloud versions (paid or free). There are many to choose from (I personally use a solution from a company called Edraw, which offers many different options) – the core isn’t the software itself, it is to learn how to use mind-mapping really effectively and practically every day.
Here are a few tips about what mind-mapping is good for and also how I personally use it in trading.
Mind-mapping is absolutely brilliant for clarification and sharpening of ideas. Whenever I work on a new project, I start with "outlining" some basic structure of the idea (one page), which I will afterwards develop, modify and move further (to the next pages). Thanks to the usage of mind-mapping, everything is constantly in a well-arranged manner. In head and on a paper; everything is very well organized and structured, and moving forward is much faster with this tool.
For example, when I have created a few dozens of conditions for effective trading of Market Internals, I have started with the simplest map possible. I have written down the most basic concept direction which I had in my head at that moment:
As soon as I had the whole picture in front of me, it was much easier to develop everything further, elaborate, and achieve a quality outcome.
Personally, I would say it like this: "They say that all great ideas begin with pen and paper in hand." And I completely agree with that, as I am a great advocate of this classic method. Nevertheless, at the same time I would add to that: "...and if you would like to be a bit more modern, start with mind-maps."
Another great usage of mind-mapping comes in a moment when you need to define (even just cursorily) some processes and procedures. A simple structure in a few points (steps, with the usage of mind-maps) can again create a picture that is „worth a thousand words“. And at the same time there is no need to create anything complicated.
For example, not long ago I was asked to outline the basis of how we achieved to create over 1,000 amazing strategies in only a few months. Naturally, it is possible to talk about this subject for hours. Therefore, the task I was facing was how to express and explain everything in a simple way in just a few minutes. In the end, I created a simple map which defined the general part of the process (in regards to how the presentation should look) with one picture:
Of course, it isn’t overly-detailed – but again, it is a great way to start with the definition of a process which was at the beginning of a specific project (and with other maps to move forward to details). The best thing about it is that once you learn to use this tool then similar issues will be just a matter of minutes – an effective usage of mind-mapping doesn’t really need much time.
Mind-mapping is absolutely brilliant for the creation of check-lists. Every trader should have a series of check-lists for many different purposes (and it doesn’t matter what you trade; what is your specialty; what kind of trader you are). The advantage of check-lists in the form of mindmapping is again a very useful way of visualization – suddenly you look at a comprehensive picture rather than a few lines of text:
Needless to say, the visual form may not suit everyone. In my case (I am a very visual person) it is almost a gift.
The last amazing application of mind-mapping can be the creation of task list (simply a to-do list). I am not using it this way very often, but from time to time I may need to finish a more demanding project – and due to its demanding nature and complexity I would be a bit lost in regards to how the overall state is doing, what is done, what needs to be done, etc. In that case, I draw a detailed map and again I create a quick visual overview of how the progress is and what else needs to be completed.
The most important thing in the usage of mind-mapping is to start. It needs a bit of habit before this powerful tool becomes a part of a trader’s everyday life. But once you get used to it, you will swear by mind-mapping from then on. For example, I have the Happy Trading!TomasEdraw software constantly open on my desktop and my PC is full of files with mind-maps. It certainly has made my trading life much simpler and practically my entire professional life in general as well.