I have been using mind mapping software for many years now and it has often been a great boost to get clarity around thought.
I know that I've often been told that my mind needs a map to get around and I've agreed with them. I know I think the same way everyone else does. Do you memorize your phone number by turning it into a complex calculation? Of course you do and my wife's statements that I'm somehow different is just well, silly.
But back to mind maps.
I have a copy MindJet on my computer at home and pull it out occasionally to help me formulate some thoughts. Often this results in only a half a dozen links before I know where I'm going with my thoughts and can take it up from there. Sometimes it takes a very large map that I export to an outlined document where I can fully document the thoughts that are now concisely laid out before me.
However it wasn't until I started using mind mapping on my iPhone that real map production became a reality. Now I can take those ideas and problems that arise during the work day and map them out on the train ride home. Next morning I can export all of those linked thoughts into an outline document and produce my paper.
I've tried several systems on the iPhone from a straight outliner (CarbonFin Outliner) to specific mind mapping programs. There is no doubts on my favourite for the iPhone and that's MindNode. This is a simple clean interface that's good for all you can and need to do on an iPhone while sitting on a moving train. I love the fact that the points are not boxed (which to me, makes them harder to read) and each base node is a separate colour. I can even choose sub nodes to be different colours as well.
The ease of transferring the maps to my computer is as simple as selecting to email them (to myself) as an attachment. I have the choice then of several formats including graphics, as an outline document or one of a few standard formats other mind mapping software recognizes.
The only down side is that so far there is no way I can then copy maps back onto the iPhone unless I have an apple computer (which I don't). They say they are working on it and I hope so because this is a very powerful business function for the iPhone.
While I'm at it, why did I choose the iPhone? I've used the Psion, a PalmPilot, a Windows Mobile phone and the Blackberry. All work very well but I just like the simple nature and use I'd the iPhone. If I could I'd have perhaps gone with the Palm Pre but it is yet to be seen in Australia so I opted for the iPhone and so far, apart from the short battery time, quite enjoying it.