Why mind map?
The man who is credited for the widespread use of mind maps, Buzan, theorises that our brains work by radial thinking. Essentially, when we have a thought, we have an infinite amount of associations relating to that thought, spanning out across both hemispheres of our brain. Mind mapping works with your brain, instead of against it, by allowing connections to develop freely and naturally, allowing you to tap into a level of creativity you might have never reached before.
Mind mapping has developed over time and you can now find mind mapping software and mind mapping templates that help you mind map online, which opens up the opportunity to develop ideas whenever you like, when you are on the go or collaboratively with a team.
Like most things, mind mapping takes practice, but it is also really easy to get started. As mind mapping is a creative way to think, it leaves lots of freedom for experimentation so you can find out what works for you.
Make a mind map
First things first, your mind map needs a central idea. This can be as vague or specific as you like, and you can always change it later on. If you keep your central idea the same throughout, it can be useful to look back at the progress of your mind map and see where ideas originated from. You could choose a picture, text, or both, for your starting point. Choose whatever helps you spark ideas.
From the central idea in your mind map, add your first thoughts, stemming outwards. Don’t overthink this part, just put down the key words and phrases that come to your mind. Avoid long sentences where possible, because these are harder to read, and the more work your brain has to do, the less creative it will be. From here you can expand as much as you want, or at least until the page (or screen) is full!
Add ideas to your mind map as they come to you. Don’t restrict yourself to work on one thought at a time. One of the most enjoyable things about mind mapping is the tangents that you end up on, which could result in some great work!
The Visual Mapping Evolution
Visual mapping has slowly crept into mainstream awareness over a period of about 10 years. There are now a plethora of visual mapping software applications available on all platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Our methods for organizing information are changing dramatically, and visual mapping is quietly becoming a revolutionary tool that’s keeping us organized, productive, and focused. The question is…
Along the way, we will also explore several mind mapping examples using a variety of mind mapping software programs. This exploration will provide you with a visual comparison of the features of each tool to help you figure out whether or not it might be suitable for your purposes.
A Broader Definition of Mind Mapping
- Helps you grasp a big picture overview of the subject under study.
- Improves your capacity to explore detailed snippets of information.
- Helps improve your memory, retention, and comprehension of information.
- Helps you organize information into easy to remember chunks.
- Helps reduce mental clutter, cope with information overload, and overwhelm.
- Stimulates the imagination and encourages creative insights and ideas.
- Helps enhance your level of focus and concentration while working or studying.
- Helps expand your ability to take effective, better organized, and more comprehensive notes.
- Makes learning and organizing information fun and exciting, which subsequently strengthens your interest in the subject matter.
- Helps accelerate your ability to solve complex problems.
- Improved your capacity to manage your academic workload.
- Helps unlock hidden understandings within information chunks.
- Helps unlock unexpected creative insights and ideas.
- Helps you save time while working, studying or learning.
- Helps you to prepare for tests and examinations.
- Helps provide you with more clarity about your goals, ideas, and actions.
- Helps triggers creative associations between seemingly unrelated bits of information.
This list of benefits is, of course, by no means comprehensive. There are many more value-added benefits that are specific to individuals who consistently work with mind maps.
To gain actual value from using mind maps, you will need to commit yourself to incorporating them into your work and study routine for at least 30 days. You will need at the very least four weeks to fully comprehend the value that mind maps can bring to your life.
Remember though, that you don’t necessarily need to be a doodler to gain value from using mind maps. Mind mapping isn’t about pretty little pictures and doodles. It’s rather about the structure and process you use to organize and make sense of information.
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