Mind Mapping

I like using a variety of methods for thinking and brainstorming creatively about an issue or problem that I want to solve. However, I do prefer mind mapping because it engages both sides of my brain rather than using a linear approach starting at the top of the page and going to the bottom.

Mind mapping is a simple, yet very powerful, tool to help brainstorm, organize and store ideas.  As a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts, developing a mind map helps to structure information so you can analyze, comprehend, recall, review and generate new ideas.   With regards to problem solving, it provides the opportunity to see the whole picture and evaluate the problems and solutions from a bird’s eye view.

When I develop a mind map, I start by drawing a circle in the middle of a large piece of blank paper.  This center circle is the starting point.  The information or words in that center circle articulate what I want to do.  If solving an issue,  I summarize the problem in as few words as possible.  Then I begin  branching out (like a tree) adding related points and ideas.

Besides problem solving and brainstorming, mind maps are also useful for:

  • Taking notes
  • Studying
  • Memorizing
  • Planning
  • Researching
  • Consolidating information from multiple sources
  • Presenting information
  • Gaining insight into complex topics
  • Enhancing your creativity

Because mind mapping utilizes both the right and left side of the brain, the brain gets information in the way it likes.  In addition, since the brain processes information using special association patterns this method also works the way the brain works.

It is important to keep working at the mind map and keep thinking sometimes the ideas are buried and need time to surface.

To make mind mapping even more fun and beneficial.

  • Incorporate colors, drawing and/or symbols.
  • Try using as many visuals as you can and don’t be concerned if you aren’t an artist most of us aren’t but that doesn’t matter.
  • Keep the topic labels short or if you like use pictures.
  • Vary the text size, color and alignment.
  • Vary the thickness and length of the lines.
  • Provide visual cues to emphasize important points

Remember this is your mind map, so make it fun, creative and enjoyable and you will find that you will become even more creative in coming up with solutions to that issue you are facing.