Updated April 24, 2023
Introduction to Mind Maps for Dummies
Mind Maps – It’s a Monday morning, and you’re already looking up to the heavens, praying for the day to go well. But, you don’t fletch a muscle more than you do while praying and, of course, walking towards your office. Apart from the chanting for a great day, your thoughts are running in all other directions. At work, you want to be able to:
- Be a creative and innovative individual in your team
- Set realistic goals and gear up to achieve them
- Manage time proficiently
- Stand in front of a crowd and be able to deliver A-class presentations
- Conduct meetings effectively without missing out on points
- Work efficiently under pressure
- Have a proper work-life balance
- Keep getting the successful tag, year on year
This article is a must-read if you want even one of these amazing traits as part of your professional skillset. Let me put in front of you the concept of Mind Maps!
What is a Mind Map?
Mind Maps are the ultimate and unique organizational tool to help you think in an outstanding fashion and bring you to the forefront of every area in your life. A Mind Map can be the simplest way of acquiring information and putting it to you in an appropriate situation. It’s like taking notes down in the most creative and effective way possible.
A Mind Map maps out all your thoughts and ideas that go on scrambling in your head. Think of it as a network of nerves extending from the center of your brain, leading to specific goals and parts of your body. Or, look at it as a map of a city, where the center of the city is the center of the Mind Map, and the main road extends from there while still dividing into smaller secondary roads. Your ideas or thoughts can have images or illustrations, like how a fuel station or restaurant would be marked on the map. Mind Maps’ layouts relate and recollect the sections and divisions like city maps. It also helps organize facts and ideas so the brain can process them well enough to be recollected and remembered part by part. It’s easier and much more reliable than simply learning it thoroughly.
Visualization of Information
Mind Maps always:
- Use color
- Use curved lines
- Originate in the center
- Use keywords
- Use images
Imagine such a sight for all your information—simple, basic, and fun! With such illustrations, you can memorize and store knowledge in your brain more effectively than a long list of information would.
A Mind Map is the most natural method of configuring a lot of information and storing it in the human brain to extract and understand later. When you can visualize data and information, it’s like photographing them in your mind. With the connecting lines and images, you will remember what leads where and by what means they are connected. You can have multiple thoughts swarming around in your mind, but for you to remember a drawing that your niece or nephew made wouldn’t be much of a problem to recollect and visualize.
Directing you to Michael Michalko, author of Cracking Creativity, who values what a Mind Map can do; according to him, a Mind Map is capable of:
- Activating all the sections of your brain that deals with memory, response, and movement
- Decluttering your mind of various thoughts and filtering them onto paper
- Projecting a clear picture of the details in your mind
- Helping you to connect the dots between thoughts that seem unrelated
- Helping you concentrate on the objective at hand and not stray or get distracted
Why Do We Need Mind Maps?
Now that you have a fair idea of Mind Maps’ power, your instinctive next question should be what the heading says, “Why do you need mind maps?”
Connecting the dots is necessary when you venture out to do any kind of job. Whether the setup behind you is that of a corporate office or a desk full of students, you will, at some time or the other, want to gain a competitive edge over others by being the first person to add 2 and 2 and, say 4. Mind Maps form that part of your professional life that allows you to be creative and stay logical in your thinking.
Humans have their brain divided into two areas: the left side of the brain takes care of everything logical with a focus on numbers, lists, calculations, and all the other aspects that you’ve subjected yourself to during Science and Math classes, and the right side of the brain is the creative side that looks at images, art, music, and all the fun things you went around doing in art class. Clubbing these two together to form an enjoyable aspect of your professional life is what makes Mind Maps so close to being a natural methodology for management and control.
We need Mind Maps to see things not as the naked eye perceives them but rather as what we want them to be for us. This doesn’t mean you will encounter unicorns and dragons and watch them play a round of chess, but you will have a fun and most effective way of being logical in everything you pick up as work.
This amalgamation of logic with creativity has proven to be a winning formula in all aspects of work life. It helps professionals develop innovative solutions to counter problems and issues. This has also been the driving force behind the greatest orators in the world.
How to Prepare a Mind Map?
Generating a Mind Map isn’t difficult to do; I can vouch for that. With precise rules attached to the process, the entire preparation ritual relieves many as they are thoughts plotted on paper. That way, they can process many other functions while at their job. So, without much further ado, let’s proceed to see what goes on in preparing a Mind Map.
What do you need?
- Blank, unruled sheet of paper
- Different colored pens or pencils
- Your brain full of imagination and thoughts
Yes, these are all the ingredients that go into generating a Mind Map, but the main method is still to be unveiled.
1. Place Your Sheet of Paper in the Landscape Position
Placing your sheet in this position will give you the space to spread your thoughts all over the sheet and make it easier to draw the Mind Map than having to think about insufficient space.
2. Start with an Image at the Center of the Sheet
The image you draw at the center of the sheet will be that of your central idea, the main reason you want to draw out a Mind Map in the first place. This image should widen your perspective, keep you focused, and help include everything you envision as the goal of your Mind Mapping.
Note: Everything on a Mind Map needs to be colorful. This vibrancy is a key garnish to kick those taste buds.
3. Add Branches to Your Central Idea
Make sure you draw out main branches to your central idea and subsequently add secondary branches connecting those main branches. Draw out as many branches as you’d want to convey thoughts and ideas. More, the merrier. Trivial is the greatest. Your brain will love the correlation, and associations jotted down.
Note: Curve your branch lines. Your brain will regard straight lines as boring and won’t bother to keep those ideas entertained unless forced. So, curve your way through.
4. Add Keywords to the Branches
Single keywords allow Mind Maps to attain flexibility and retention. These keywords tend to exert power over the idea and make you think. This thinking process can lead you to develop new, creative ideas and keywords. Stick to using CAPITAL LETTERS.
Note: Make sure you use images throughout your Mind Map. This will bring the vibrancy your brain craves and help flex the mind enough to be utterly creative and innovative. The brain always associates more with images. They have a lasting impression on the mind and can be retained easier than words or phrases.
Project Management using Mind Maps
We’ve established how Mind Maps help us progress in every aspect of our work lives. If we were to segregate this into just the field of project management, how much could a Mind Map work there? You’ll be surprised that almost everything can be covered under Mind Maps. After all, it’s your mind, your brain, and your piece of work. In this section, we’ll examine what Mind Maps does in project management.
Mind Maps are very effective tools for the skills and tasks needed to be undertaken in a project management framework. With Mind Maps, you are able to:
- Run a meeting
All these tasks form the crux of project management and project planning and are essential for every project manager and project team member. Let’s take a project planning situation and analyze what is needed against what a Mind Map can do.
Regardless of the aim and objective of the project, you will be taking a blank sheet of paper and showing off your artistic side by drawing out or putting your vision on the sheet right in the center. With the many project management approaches closing in, bigger and larger projects can be daunting for a Mind Map. But nonetheless, it will serve the purpose and bring out those ideas that are swarming in the corners of your mind.
From there, you can get on and run with your project planning and go through all the possible branches, writings, and drawings till you’re satisfied with the output. Once you’re done with your plan, you can then move to execute it.
In lieu of the many things Mind Maps can help you with regarding project management, I’ve listed down 7 ways they can prove to be really helpful. Countdown commencing:
1. Vibrant Presentation Tool
Your project presentations will be spot-on and perfect once Mind Maps is employed to complete the work. Not a single point is missed, and all ideas covered will be confident in front of many.
2. Brainstorming Sessions
When you’re visually appealing to your mind to be more creative and think out-of-the-box, Mind Maps seems to be the best way around.
3. Professional Drawing and Doodling
Forget all about listed and bullet-listed notes-taking when you’re in a meeting or a presentation. Using Mind Maps, you will be able to chalk out and plan discussions on the topic and remember the talk’s exact progression.
4. A Great Box of Ideas
Mind Maps can often become a repository of ideas all mapped out in front of you to choose from.
With clarity in the workflow and the plan, you can easily use Mind Maps to jot down the delegation cycle and who needs to take up which part of the plan.
6. Business Workflow
A Mind Map becomes a visual progression of a project, all in order of sequence or priority. This can also be a great tool for informing team members and stakeholders of the project’s progress.
7. Visual Vocabulary
With images, pictures, and keywords spreading across the project plan Mind Map, you can have a whole new vocabulary for your project regarding the actual vision for the different stages it encompasses.
Mind Maps for Creative Minds
Our brain is wired so as not to think in a linear manner but almost spread our thoughts radiantly in all directions possible. Putting such thoughts in a list format can often break the chain of thought we’ve built in our minds and restrict our thoughts from turning into ideas.
Mind Maps liberate these thoughts that normal note-taking would inhibit. They allow us to spread and capture all our variations in thoughts and put them down on paper for clarity and subsequent use.
Our education systems worldwide normally focus on the left brain and the skills it enables. But Mind Maps explore how to do that by activating your creative side to explore what’s logical. Thus, giving you full coverage of all the possible out-of-the-box ideas to tap on.
A Mind Map is, after all, a wonderful creative-thinking tool that can be useful in all phases of life, be it work or personal and social life. It forms a wonderful bridge between the two spheres of your brain and links the two to gain the better of them both. Go on now and reach out for your own ventures using Mind Maps. Happy Mind Mapping!
This has been a guide to Mind Maps for Dummies. Here we have discussed the basic concept, How to Prepare a Mind Map? Project Management using Mind Maps, and Creative Minds, respectively. You may look at the following articles to learn more –