5 Tips for Mastering External Thinking Tools

Discover five valuable tips to help you master external thinking tools and unlock their full potential.


External thinking tools are powerful resources that can greatly enhance our ability to think, solve problems, and generate creative ideas. These tools come in various forms, such as mind maps, concept maps, flowcharts, and diagrams, and offer a structured approach to organize and visualize information. By externalizing our thoughts and ideas onto these tools, we can gain new insights, make connections, and better understand complex concepts.

Mastering these external thinking tools is essential if we want to reap their full benefits. While they may seem straightforward to use, there are techniques and strategies that can elevate our proficiency in utilizing them. In this blog, we will explore five tips that can help you become a master of external thinking tools and unlock your full creative thinking abilities. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can make the most of these tools!

Tip 1: Choose the Right Tools

When it comes to external thinking tools, there are various options available, each with its own set of advantages and features. To make the most out of these tools, it’s essential to choose the ones that align with your specific needs and preferences. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when selecting the right external thinking tools for you:

Types of External Thinking Tools

External thinking tools encompass a wide range of options, from digital applications to physical notebooks. Some popular types of tools include:

  • Mind Mapping Software: These tools allow for the creation of visual diagrams or mind maps that capture ideas, connections, and relationships. They enable a more holistic view of complex information.

  • Note-Taking Apps: Note-taking apps provide a digital platform for capturing thoughts, ideas, and important information. They often offer features like organization, tagging, and searching for easy retrieval.

  • Whiteboards and Sticky Notes: These physical tools allow for the brainstorming and organization of ideas in a tangible way. They can be rearranged and manipulated easily for better ideation and collaboration.

  • Visual Thinking Apps: Visual thinking apps provide a canvas to create sketches, diagrams, and illustrations. They are particularly useful for visual learners who prefer to express ideas through images.

Consider Your Needs and Preferences

When choosing external thinking tools, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the primary purpose of the tool? Are you looking to capture ideas, plan projects, or organize information?

  • Do you prefer a digital or physical format? Some people find that digital tools offer convenience and accessibility, while others prefer the tactile nature of physical tools.

  • What features are important to you? Consider features like ease of use, collaboration capabilities, integration with other tools, and mobility.

Experiment and Evaluate

To find the most suitable external thinking tools, it’s often necessary to experiment with different options. Take advantage of free trials, demos, or limited versions of tools to test them out before committing. Explore the available features, user interface, and overall user experience. Get a sense of whether the tool aligns with your thinking style and workflow.

Additionally, consider seeking recommendations from others who have used external thinking tools. Join online communities or forums where people share their experiences and insights. Hearing others’ perspectives can help you gain valuable insights and make informed decisions.


Choosing the right external thinking tools is crucial for maximizing their potential. By considering your needs, preferences, and experimenting with different options, you can select tools that perfectly complement your thinking style and help you unlock your creative potential. So, take the time to explore the vast array of tools available and find the ones that inspire and empower you to think in new and innovative ways.

Tip 2: Familiarize Yourself with the Tools

One of the most critical steps in mastering external thinking tools is to get familiar with the selected tools. Familiarity allows you to make the most of these tools and utilize them effectively in your thinking and problem-solving processes. Here are some strategies and resources to help you become proficient in using external thinking tools:

1. Read the Instructions

Before diving into using any external thinking tool, take the time to read the instructions or user manual provided. Understanding the tool’s features, functionality, and any specific instructions or guidelines will help you make the most of it. This initial step will give you a solid foundation to start utilizing the tool effectively.

2. Start with Simple Tasks

When starting with a new external thinking tool, begin by using it for simple and straightforward tasks. This approach allows you to gradually build familiarity and confidence. By starting small, you can explore the tool’s basic functions and features without feeling overwhelmed. As you gain more experience, you can then move on to more complex tasks.

3. Watch Tutorials and Online Courses

There is a wealth of online tutorials and courses available that specifically focus on using external thinking tools. These resources can provide step-by-step guidance, tips, and best practices for utilizing the tools effectively. YouTube, Udemy, and other online learning platforms offer a wide range of tutorials and courses for various external thinking tools. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your understanding and proficiency.

4. Experiment and Explore

Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore with the tools you’ve chosen. Testing different functionalities and features can help you discover hidden capabilities and innovative ways to use the tool. Allow yourself to think outside the box and explore unconventional approaches. This experimentation process will not only deepen your familiarity with the tool but also boost your creativity and problem-solving abilities.

5. seek feedback from experienced users.

If you have colleagues or acquaintances who are already proficient in using the external thinking tool you’re trying to master, don’t hesitate to seek their feedback and guidance. They can offer valuable insights, tips, and tricks based on their own experiences. Collaborating with experienced users not only helps you understand the tool better but also promotes the exchange of ideas and fosters a learning community.

6. Set aside dedicated time for practice.

To become truly proficient in using external thinking tools, it is essential to set aside dedicated time for practice. Regular practice sessions allow you to strengthen your skills, improve your understanding of the tool, and increase your overall efficiency. Consider allocating a specific time slot each day or week to practice using the tool. Consistency is key to developing mastery.

7. Reflect and Evaluate

After using the external thinking tool, take the time to reflect on your experience. Evaluate what worked well and what could be improved. This reflection and evaluation process will help you identify areas where you can further enhance your proficiency. It will also allow you to tailor your usage of the tool to best suit your needs and preferences.


Familiarizing yourself with external thinking tools is a crucial step towards mastering them. By reading the instructions, starting with simple tasks, watching tutorials, experimenting, seeking feedback, practicing regularly, and reflecting on your experience, you can become proficient in using these tools effectively. Remember, the more familiar you are with the tools, the better you will be able to harness their capabilities and maximize your creative thinking abilities.

Tip 3: Practice Regularly

Consistent practice is crucial for improving proficiency in utilizing external thinking tools. Here are some suggestions for incorporating regular practice sessions into your daily routine:

Establish a Daily Practice Routine

Set aside dedicated time each day to practice using your chosen external thinking tools. Treat it like any other important task on your to-do list. This could be in the morning before starting your day or in the evening when you have some quiet time. By making it a habit, you’ll train your brain to think more creatively using these tools.

Start with Small Exercises

Begin with simple exercises to get accustomed to using the tools effectively. For example, if you’re using mind maps, start by creating a mind map of your daily tasks or goals. This will help you get familiar with the tool’s features and functionalities in a practical way. As you gain confidence, gradually increase the complexity of the exercises to challenge yourself further.

Experiment with Different Scenarios

Don’t limit yourself to using external thinking tools only in specific situations. Experiment with different scenarios to understand the full potential of these tools. For example, if you’re using a flowchart tool, try creating a flowchart for planning a vacation or solving a complex problem at work. The more you expose yourself to different scenarios, the more versatile your thinking skills will become.

Combine and Integrate Tools

Don’t restrict your practice to using a single external thinking tool. Instead, explore how different tools can be combined and integrated to enhance your thinking process. For instance, you can use mind maps to brainstorm ideas and then transfer them to a Kanban board for organizing and tracking tasks. This integration allows you to leverage the strengths of each tool and develop a more holistic approach to problem-solving.

Reflect and Review

After each practice session, take some time to reflect on your experience and review your work. Ask yourself questions like: Did you encounter any challenges? What strategies worked well for you? What can be improved? This reflection and review process will help you identify areas for growth and refine your practice approach. Consider keeping a journal to document your thoughts, observations, and insights from each practice session.

Seek Feedback and Accountability

To accelerate your progress, seek feedback from others who are also using external thinking tools. Join communities or forums where you can share your experiences, ask for advice, and learn from others. Having an accountability partner or joining a study group can also help you stay motivated and committed to regular practice.

Remember, mastery of external thinking tools doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistent effort and dedication. By incorporating regular practice into your daily routine and following the tips mentioned, you’ll gradually improve your proficiency and unlock the full potential of these tools. So, don’t wait any longer – start practicing today and nurture your creative thinking abilities!

Tip 4: Explore Advanced Techniques

Once you have familiarized yourself with the basic functionalities of your chosen external thinking tools, it’s time to explore advanced techniques that can take your usage to the next level. These techniques can help you unlock the full potential of these tools and make your creative thinking process even more effective and efficient. Here are some advanced techniques to consider:

  1. Customization and Personalization: Most external thinking tools offer a range of customization options that allow you to tailor the tool to your specific needs. Take the time to explore these customization features and personalize the tool to match your workflow and preferences. This can significantly enhance your productivity and make the tool feel like a natural extension of your thoughts.

  2. Integration with other Tools: Many external thinking tools can be integrated with other software applications or online platforms, such as project management tools, note-taking apps, or cloud storage services. Investigate the integration options available for your chosen tool and explore how you can connect it with other tools in your workflow. This integration can streamline your processes, automate tasks, and improve overall efficiency.

  3. Advanced Visualization Techniques: External thinking tools often provide advanced visualization options beyond the basic mind maps or diagrams. These options may include features like flowcharts, process maps, timelines, or concept maps. Experiment with these advanced visualization techniques to represent your ideas and thoughts in a way that is most meaningful and intuitive to you. Visualizing complex concepts can help you gain new insights and stimulate further creative thinking.

  4. Keyboard Shortcuts and Efficiency Tips: To make the most out of your chosen external thinking tool, invest some time in learning the keyboard shortcuts and efficiency tips. These shortcuts can significantly speed up your workflow, reduce unnecessary mouse movements, and make the tool more fluid to use. Explore the tool’s documentation or online resources to discover the available shortcuts and efficiency tips. Memorizing and practicing these shortcuts can save you valuable time and make the tool more seamless to work with.

  5. Automation and Macros: Some advanced external thinking tools offer automation features or the ability to create macros. These features allow you to automate repetitive tasks or create custom workflows that match your specific needs. Investigate if your chosen tool supports automation or macros, and explore how you can leverage these features to further streamline your creative thinking process. Automating time-consuming tasks can free up more mental space for innovative thinking and problem-solving.

  6. Experiment with Different Templates and Layouts: External thinking tools often provide various templates and layouts to structure your thoughts and ideas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different templates and layouts to find the ones that work best for you. Try different organizational structures, levels of detail, or visual styles to see what helps you think most effectively. The flexibility of external thinking tools allows you to iterate and refine your approach until you find the most productive and inspiring templates and layouts.

Remember, exploring advanced techniques is an ongoing process. Continuously seek out new features, updates, and tutorials related to your chosen external thinking tools. Stay curious, experiment with different techniques, and be open to learning from other users or experts in the field. By continuously expanding your knowledge and leveraging the advanced capabilities of external thinking tools, you can maximize your creative thinking potential and achieve remarkable breakthroughs in your work and personal projects.

Tip 5: Collaborate and Learn from Others

Collaborating with others who are also using external thinking tools can greatly enhance your creative thinking abilities and provide valuable insights. By engaging with a community of like-minded individuals, you can learn from their experiences, exchange ideas, and gain different perspectives. Here are some ways to collaborate and learn from others:

Join Online Communities and Forums

There are numerous online communities and forums dedicated to discussing and sharing ideas about external thinking tools. Joining these communities can provide you with a platform to connect with others who are also interested in these tools. You can participate in discussions, ask questions, and learn from the experiences of others. Some popular online communities for external thinking tools include Reddit, Quora, and specialized forums related to specific tools.

“Communities and forums are a wealth of knowledge, where you can find inspiration, receive feedback, and engage in thought-provoking discussions.”

Attend Workshops and Conferences

Workshops and conferences focused on external thinking tools are great opportunities to meet experts in the field and network with like-minded individuals. These events often feature presentations, panel discussions, and hands-on activities that allow you to learn new techniques and gain insights from professionals. Attending these events can expose you to cutting-edge practices and provide inspiration for incorporating external thinking tools into your own creative process.

Form a Mastermind Group

Consider forming a mastermind group with individuals who are also interested in external thinking tools. A mastermind group is a small, supportive group of individuals who meet regularly to share ideas, set goals, and provide accountability. By meeting with a mastermind group, you can discuss your progress, exchange feedback, and brainstorm new ideas together. This collaborative environment can foster creativity and provide motivation for further exploration of external thinking tools.

“A mastermind group can serve as a sounding board for your ideas and provide valuable insights and perspectives that you may not have considered.”

Seek Mentorship

Finding a mentor who is experienced in using external thinking tools can accelerate your learning and provide guidance on effectively utilizing these tools. A mentor can offer personalized advice, share their own experiences, and provide feedback on your creative thinking process. Look for mentors within your network or through professional organizations related to your field of interest. Establishing a mentorship relationship can provide you with valuable guidance and support as you continue to develop your skills with external thinking tools.

“A mentor can share their expertise and provide guidance tailored to your specific goals, helping you to unlock your full creative thinking potential.”

By collaborating with others who are also using external thinking tools, you can tap into a collective wisdom and expand your own creative thinking capabilities. These interactions can inspire new ideas, provide insights into best practices, and expose you to alternative perspectives. By actively engaging with others, you can accelerate your learning and make the most of the external thinking tools at your disposal. So don’t hesitate to reach out, connect, and learn from others on your creative thinking journey.


In conclusion, mastering external thinking tools is essential for unlocking our full potential for creative thinking. These tools provide a means to organize our thoughts, generate new ideas, and solve complex problems more effectively. By following the tips outlined in this article, individuals can develop the skills and proficiency necessary to maximize the benefits of these tools.

First and foremost, it is crucial to choose the right tools that align with our specific needs and preferences. With a wide variety of options available, it is essential to select tools that cater to our thinking style and goals. Taking the time to research and experiment with different tools will ensure that we find the ones that work best for us.

Once we have chosen our external thinking tools, it is important to invest time in familiarizing ourselves with them. Becoming proficient in using these tools requires practice and dedication. Fortunately, there are various strategies and resources available to help us learn and improve our skills. Engaging with online tutorials, attending workshops, and exploring user communities can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Regular practice is the key to mastery. The more we utilize external thinking tools, the more familiar and comfortable we become with them. Incorporating regular practice sessions into our daily routines will help develop our proficiency and make the most of these tools’ capabilities. Consistency is key in improving our creative thinking skills.

To take our use of external thinking tools to the next level, it is essential to explore advanced techniques. These techniques can enhance our ability to generate innovative ideas, solve complex problems, and approach challenges from different perspectives. Exploring advanced techniques, such as mind mapping, visualization, and brainstorming, will expand our toolkit and enable us to tackle a wider range of creative tasks.

Lastly, collaboration and learning from others who use external thinking tools can significantly accelerate our growth. By engaging with like-minded individuals in communities or forums dedicated to these tools, we can share experiences, learn from others’ insights, and exchange ideas. Collaboration breeds innovation and provides valuable opportunities for feedback and support.

In conclusion, mastering external thinking tools requires dedication, practice, and an open mind. By choosing the right tools, familiarizing ourselves with them, practicing regularly, exploring advanced techniques, and collaborating with others, we can unlock our full creative thinking potential. So, let us start implementing these tips and embark on the journey to unleash our creative genius!