You might have come across the term “mind mapping” during your work or studies. You might have even read some articles about this process and how it can greatly help improve every aspect of your career or learning experience. Problem is – you don’t know where to start. And that’s just what this article will show you. We will walk you through all the steps involved in the process of creating a mind map, whether you’re using a piece of paper or a mind map software. Just read on to find out!
The easiest definition for a mind map would be a graphical method of displaying ideas and concepts. A mind map is a visual learning tool that makes it easier to structure information, generate new ideas, recall old ones and even analyze current ones. In a working environment, it’s mostly used for brainstorming, while in the academic medium it’s used by students and teachers alike to get the most out of their lessons.
Now that we’ve got the definition out of the way, it’s time we moved on to creating. Take your time and read the steps but keep in mind that every mind map is unique because every person is different. These steps are just general guidelines to help you get started. In time, you’ll find and perfect your own process!
The first step is the easiest one. You can either use a blank piece of paper or one of the many services that offer mind map software that you can find online. Once you’ve got your medium, you can lay down the main idea that you want to develop, right in the middle of the page. Quick tip – you might find it easier to use the page in its landscape orientation.
The next step is to develop the main idea. You will do that by adding secondary topics to it and connecting them using smaller topics. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds – you’ll see that the smaller ideas will come naturally, just as you’re further building and developing your mind map. Make sure you connect each of them to the relevant one.
Repeat the first two steps for every new subtopic you add, connecting it to as many ideas as you want. Don’t worry about having too many or too little ideas or subtopics – the mind mapping creating process shouldn’t be forced, so every time you feel like you’ve hit a wall, just move on to a new idea or take a break altogether. After all, this should be fun.
- To make this process even more fun and interactive, you should try to use as many visual elements as you can. Drawings, colors, symbols or doodles are perfect for this and your brain will later thank you when you review your notes.
- Keep the labels or topics short and sweet. We know it might be tempting to add as many details as possible so you wouldn’t forget them later but trust us, your brain can work with short labels as well. Don’t try to write long paragraphs – that’s not the point of a mind map.
- Keep the visual elements varied. This includes the text itself, along with the lines and other graphic elements you might be using. Put extra emphasis on the main topics. The more visual variety you have in your mind map, the more you’ll engage your brain.
And that’s basically it! Creating a mind map is extremely easy and extremely helpful. Now that you have some basic steps to get started, you can create your very first mind map. But first, let’s see what are some of the many advantages of mind mapping, so you have extra motivation to do it.
- Reduces mental clutter. With a mind map, you won’t have to fill pages upon pages with long paragraphs. While doing this, you will also avoid mental exhaustion because your brain won’t have to process too much information in a very short time.
- Easier to organize information. When you split the information into smaller easy-to-read chunks, all the information you need will fit onto one page. This means you won’t have to browse through countless pages to find the information you need.
- Improves brain function. Yes, you read that right! When you create mind maps, you help your brain improve its memory function, along with retention and information comprehension.
- Improves your notes. This is quite obvious but it’s a well-known fact that a mind map is the best way to take notes. That’s because it “forces” you to shorten the information and only keep the essential idea.
- Enhances focus. Mind mapping is a great tool that will help you enhance your focus and concentration. This is because you give your mind information in short bursts that are easy to follow and store.
Mind mapping can have many uses, depending on what you want to achieve from it. You can use it to study and take better notes, you can use it to improve your work or even plan your entire career or life goal. All you have to do is keep at it – you won’t see great results if you only do it once before abandoning it. However, at the end of the day, mind mapping should be fun. It should help you learn and improve your work in a manner that’s both fast and, most importantly, fun.