Mind Maps - The Ultimate Getting Started Tool
How you can leverage mind maps to plan, learn, and make decisions
Mind maps are a powerful tool for getting started with project planning, learning something new, or even making decisions.
They help you to overcome the hurdle of getting started in many ways:
- A blank mind map is less intimidating than a blank page because it’s easy to create and add to. It removes the friction or resistance often associated with the blank page.
- The mind mapping process is simple enough that you can quickly and easily start writing ideas down.
- By thinking in a visual way, more ideas will come to mind based on the connections you make.
Mind Maps Are Great For Visual Thinkers
They help you to pull thoughts and ideas out of your head and structure them in a way that makes sense to you.
It’s like Dumbledore pulling thoughts and memories out of his head and into the pensieve. He did this so he could examine them to understand different patterns and make connections.
The mind map in this analogy is the pensieve. When your thoughts and ideas are in this form, it becomes easier to understand them and you can make different connections.
Mind Maps As A Study Technique
As well as being useful for understanding your thoughts and ideas, mind maps are helpful when studying or learning new things.
By structuring content you want to learn into a mind map form, you’re harnessing both “parts” of your brain. These relate to the visual and the abstract aka the left + right brain.
It does this by leveraging the power of the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is a part of your brain that’s responsible for spatial awareness. It helps you to remember where things are in a space.
This means that when you create a mind map, you’ll find it easier to remember where a node or connection was on the page.
This is what makes mind maps a powerful tool for learning.
In an exam situation, for instance, you can recall the structure of a mind map to retrieve a specific piece of information. That will help to spark an idea in your head so you can answer the exam question.
Mind Maps Are Versatile
You can use mind maps to express a wide range of things.
Here are some of the things I use them for:
- Generating ideas for blog posts
- Planning out a new project or a goal
- Taking notes on books I read
- Understanding concepts like my list of skills or my list of responsibilities at work
How To Make A Mind Map
Want to create a mind map for yourself?
Here are the steps for creating a mind map:
- Find a pen and a blank piece of paper.
- Turn the paper so it’s horizontal or landscape. This gives you more space.
- Write the main topic in the center of the page - My Skills
- What can you think of that relates to this main topic?
- Write down each item on the page and visually connect them to the main topic with a line or arrow.
- Web Development, UI Design, Content Creation, Productivity
- What can you think of that relates to these sub-topics?
- As your mind continues to dig deeper, add more nodes and connect them to other nodes until your mind map is completed.
Practical Examples Of Mind Maps In Action
In this section, I want to share with you some practical examples of mind maps I’ve created.
My Book Notes
The best example of my mind maps in action is with my book notes.
I take notes as I read books and once I’ve finished reading a book, I create a mind map based on everything I’ve learned.
Here is a recent example of a book notes mind map I created:
If you’d like to see more of these mind maps, I include them all in my Knowledge Vault of Digital Notes.
Additional Tips For Creating Mind Maps
- There are many apps for creating mind maps but you could always just stick with pen and paper.
- If you’re not sure where to start, start with pen and paper and go from there. It’s the best way to get started and with some practice you’ll find it easier to do.
- Keep a mind map you’re actively working on at your desk. When you have a few minutes, take a look at it and see what things you can add to it. You’d be surprised how many great insights come to mind by doing this.
- Try a mind map the next time you’re stuck on a problem and see if it can unlock any new ideas.
I hope you found some value in reading this article.
I would encourage you to give mind maps a try the next time you’re stuck on something.
As well as that, see how many different types of mind maps you can create.
Let me know over on Twitter how you get on with this, I’d love to know all the different ways mind maps can be used!