To Do List

When you are mind mapping in order to create a ‘to do list’, you create a simple outline of what needs to be done. If you want to, you can even create this in a way that it can serve as a check list. You can make this into a PDF for ongoing reasons, or you can also make it into a living document that you add to and subtract from day to day as the things that you need to do change.

As opposed to other types of ‘to do lists’, this method works better because humans don’t really work well with vertical formats. Sure, we are taught to work with this type of format from childhood, but it is not the most optimal method. It is better to be able to categorize information and view it all at once, if possible.

Humans, by nature, have a tendency to skip around the plans we have made. Life often forces us to do so simply because things come up that we are unprepared for. So, we need the ability to be flexible with our plans. Mind maps give us the flexibility to change and reprioritize when we need to.

Not every list is an ordered list. Very often they are made in a bulleted form where there is no particular order involved. This is because we do not like to have things put into any particular order unless we absolutely need to, and most of the time we need the freedom to place tasks where they best fit as we go about our day.

Mind mapping allows you list the things that you need to get done, but in no particular order. You simply layout the tasks, and you can pick and choose at a glance. On the other hand, mind mapping can better help you prioritize. For example, your central point can be ‘Things to Do’, and your main topics can include ‘Priority 1’, ‘Priority 2’, ‘Priority 3’, etc. Even in this case you are not locked into accomplishing these tasks in any particular order, however. Also Read How To Live A Goal-Oriented Life.

Writing

A mind map can be very useful to writers. You can use a mind map to outline each part of the story, making your main points include the ‘exposition’, ‘rising action’, ‘climax’, ‘falling action’, and ‘resolution’, and your subtopics for each one outline the events of each part of the story.

Mind maps can also be of a particular use in non-fiction types of materials, because you can actually build an outline of what topics that you want to write about and what facts you want to provide for each of the topics. In fact, many non-fiction authors begin by writing out their table of contents within a mind map, and then adding in the various facts that they want to include as subtopics in the mind map. Obviously, this would be a very efficient way to write a book or report.

One of the main ways that this is beneficial is that it allows you to see how everything lays out before you even begin the writing process. This way you have a chance to better arrange the order of the topics beforehand. This saves you from having to re-arrange the material once it is written, which can be very difficult. That is, if you even recognize that it all doesn’t fit together right.

If you are writing a fictitious story, mind mapping allows you to expand upon your ideas easily. You can pinpoint the areas where the foreshadowing in your story needs to go beforehand, for example. You may even have some images that you want to include in the book, but you are unsure of where to place them. Computerized mind maps are especially good for pre-planning your layout in this way because you can just add these images right into the mind map.

Mind maps are also great to use when you are trying to communicate with editors. It makes it easier for them to provide you with feedback early on in the writing process. Again, this saves you from having to go back and re-write your material over and over.

mind map examples

The key is to keep the information within your mind map compact. This causes you to think about the associations between your content beforehand, and yet continue to be creative as you write. Mind maps can also help you to organize thoughts so that they will be clearer to the reader, preplan where to begin and end the chapters to make them fall together right, and play around with new ideas in a quicker, yet deeper manner.

As well as offering you freedom, mind maps can help you to constrain your writing so that you don’t get carried away. This helps you to arrange your material in a well-structured and balanced manner. This way you can makes sure that your chapters carry an equal amount of weight and that the topics are all covered sufficiently but not over-explained, for example.

One of the best things about mind maps is that they allow you to brainstorm viciously, but then revisit and tweak the material later. You don’t need to constrain your ideas; you can just let them fly and see what you can come up with. Then, you can go back and arrange the information in a more logical fashion later. Once your ideas are better organized, you can send the material onward to receive feedback.

Would you want to write the entire book in a mind map? This is not recommended, although people have done it before. Certainly a short report could be entirely put together in a mind map. Entire presentations can be made using a mind map as well. In fact, this would be a way to present information in a novel way to people who you are working with.

Research

Mind mapping is helpful in research projects because it allows you to draw connections and associations between the topics. This process makes it easier for you to organize the information in the most optimal order as well as sort the topics according to their importance. Being able to see this information laid out will not only allow you to better arrange the information, but to be more creative in how you present the information as well.

It is also helps because it gives you one central place to keep the information that you find. You can keep your mind map simple by placing the links or the page number to the information that you want to refer to within the mind map. This also helps you to cite your sources later on. In addition to this, mind maps are great for research because they allow you to store the graphs and tables that you need inside of this. This gives you the opportunity to pull from them as you work the rest of the information out.

Brainstorming

When you are brainstorming, you are writing all of your ideas down in the most free-style manner possible. It is not unlike spontaneous prose, where you write what is in your mind onto the paper with no forethought about the structure, organization, or even the value of what you are writing. Whether you are brainstorming with a team or on your own, you don’t want to dismiss any ideas because they can all be used as building blocks for what you will be trying to create later on.

Once all of these ideas are captured within the mind map, you can review the information, reorganize it, add to it, and cut away where it makes sense to. You can edit and revise these ideas as a group or individually. If you were brainstorming on your own, you can tweak the information just enough to make it understandable to someone else, and then pass it on to friends and family members to see what they recommend that you do with the information.

Mind mapping makes it easy for you to get your thoughts into written form quickly and without hesitation. It also allows you to ‘see the whole’ picture, so you are able to come up with better ideas. This type of brainstorming helps you to flow from one idea to the other and provides you with a means of separating your ideas by organizing them in different levels or tiers. In addition, seeing several similar ideas clumped together can inspire entirely new and better ideas. You can combine, recombine, and add to the content to come up with better material over all.

Another benefit of brainstorming with mind maps is that they do appeal to different kinds of people in different ways. So, a mind map is a very good ‘place’ to come together with other people to share ideas since the ideas produced can be presented in a number of different ways. They make it easy to work as a team to revisit and revise the information as a group.

Studying

Students have used mind maps as a way to take notes for centuries. Nowadays, many students, whether in grade school or college, have the luxury of having a computer sitting right in front of them. If you are a student, it is very easy to pull up some mind mapping software and type in the most critical points of a lecture. You can still, of course, do this on paper if that is easier for you.

If you keep your mind map simple and only write down the essential points, you can spend more time taking in the information audibly and visibly. Later on, you will be able to quickly review your mind map, which will bring back the memory of what was stated by the instructor. Another thing that you can do is get permission from your teacher to make an audio recording of the lesson. This way, you can study the material later on by looking at the mind map and listening to the lecture at the same time.

You can also break those ideas down, listing the various elements that make up the topic. It also is a very quick and easy way to take notes since you can draw lines and arrows between the information to make clear how they are connected. This also is a socially acceptable way to doodle out images that are representative of the material. You can add or create charts to your mind map as well, which can help you to understand and memorize data.

Reviewing the material shortly after class has been shown to help people retain information much better. The act of building a mind map out of the material being studied will also help you to recall it later on. That is because this is an exercise, and using an exercise while learning material drives it into your mind and makes it vastly more memorable. In other words, the act of doing something with the material that you are learning provides ‘landmarks’ for your memory to return to and therefore anchors the information in your memory. Finally, using a mind map in combination with your own learning style is going to help you learn and retain information almost effortlessly.

Planning

A mind map can be a very helpful device to use for planning just about anything. Whether you are planning a trip to the grocery store or planning how to build a house, mind maps can help you break the process into simple steps. Mapping out the steps that you need to take will help to ensure that you are not leaving anything out. If you have forgotten something, then you can simply add it in to ensure that it gets done. It also allows you to better enjoy the progress as you accomplish these goals and as you are able to remove them from your list or check them off as done.

Do you see how this method can help you to keep track of the progress in a more feasible manner than other checklists could? Creating a mind map before you begin a project also helps you to have an idea of what the outcome ought to be. Furthermore, it helps you to ensure the outcome comes about as planned. Essentially all that you have to do is follow three easy steps: plan, do, check. By following these steps, you can assure that the project is done completely and done right.

It has been well established that mind maps help you to see the relationships between things. This can really save you time and in most cases money. Say, for example, that you are planning on building onto your house. You could list the materials that you need in each of the various stages in the project, along with any prices that you have found online. You can simply hand this info off to your carpenter to ensure that he doesn’t spend too much on materials. If it is something that you are doing yourself, this would save you from having to run back and forth to the hardware store.

Problem Solving

If you are having trouble with a specific problem, and you write it out in a mind map and leave it be for a while. This helps you to revisit or relearn the problem. Plus, this will allow the problem to stew in your subconscious mind. Leaving a problem for a while and then coming back to it has been proven to make problems easier to solve.

Mind maps also help you to ask better questions about the problem itself. If you do this correctly, the mind map helps you to break up the most difficult parts of the problem into smaller problems that are easier to understand and easier to solve. From there, you can start asking questions that pertain to these, now smaller, problems. Many people use this type of strategy for solving their problems. Since mind maps are built to break down information, using a mind map makes this process is much simpler and much clearer.

thinking hats

Once you have broken down a problem into many smaller, more manageable problems, you can begin tackling them one by one. You can use the mind map to brainstorm different solutions for each problem if they aren’t obvious already. Once you start chipping away at the problem, no matter what it is, it will disappear. At the very least you will know what the very first steps to solving it will be.

Estimating Project Time

The process of using mind maps to better manage your time is very simple to the process of planning your projects out. You do this by brainstorming about the project such as: who is the project for, who is going to be doing the work, and what exactly needs to be done. Any part of the work that needs to be done can be brought in as a subtopic. Once you establish what varies tasks need to be done, you can start breaking these tasks into steps.

Once a project is broken into various tasks, it is not hard to estimate how much time each task would take and therefore how long the project should take. The mind map will allow you to ledger things like who does the work, how much it will cost, how much time it will take, and so on. As established above, this will allow you to plan without leaving anything out. So, there shouldn’t be anything left unplanned that could take up even more time.

This is really good for people who are detail-oriented because you can see all of the parts of the project right down to their lowest level. On the other hand, if you have a tendency to look at the big picture, then you should be able to take in the most critical parts at a glance and then dive in deeper if they need to. These types of flexibilities are what make mind maps very powerful to use.

Taking Notes

This subject was touched upon in the ‘studying’ section. You can take these notes just like you would any other way: in a notebook, on a tablet, the back of your book, or even on your phone. Furthermore, you can take them in any shape or form that is best for you, as quickly as you like, and as detailed as you like.

Many people say that it helps them to remember their course content if they re-write the notes when they get home. You can do this with a mind map too. Simply, scribble down the information as best you can when you are in class or a training session, and then straighten it and re-organize it when you get home. This commits the information to memory once more.

Using mind maps is advantageous because they are so versatile. They allow you to think in a linear fashion, if you like, or to think more creatively. They allow you to group and regroup content. You also have the versatility of using a mixture of picture, text, bullet points, arrows, lines, symbols. In other words, you can make them very graphical or very text-driven. You can even doodle on your mind map if it helps you to retain or understand the information.

This amount of freedom is liberating to people. The most important part, however, is that it is fun. Mind maps allow you to play, and play is the most natural way for humans to learn.

School

Mind maps are great for teachers and great for students. In fact, they should be utilized more, according to many of the world’s leading scientists and researchers. Mind maps provide very effective ways to present information, and are equally as impressive when it comes to helping people retain information.

One of the biggest problems people tend to have in school is answering the essay question on their test. It probably wouldn’t be such a problem if most people realized that it is easier if they mind map out their answer first. All you have to do on the mind map is write down the answer is as the central point and a few main points to support that answer.

As was outlined above, you can use mind maps for studying, as well as for learning and reviewing what you have learned. Mind maps are great for planning out how to tackle your homework. So, they can help you to be very structured. These are great for planning out creative projects as too. You can get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming on a mind map as well. You could even use a mind map to figure out the best way to deal with the school bully, as long as you don’t let him see it.

Most people don’t think of it, but mind maps work really well when dealing with mathematics. You can take a very complex mathematical problem and break it down into all of its parts. Then you can even describe and define each one of the parts. This is a great tactic for both teachers and students.

Mind maps are an inexpensive and easy way to make presentations for your class. A lot of times they are even more appealing then PowerPoint presentations because you can get so creative with them. Teachers can even use mind maps to present class plans or seating arrangements.

mind mapping demonstration

Mind maps are an effective to use when studying in a group. Again, this is because they appeal to multiple types of people. You could even use a mind map to split up the responsibilities of a class assignment when working in groups, or everyone can go home and create a mind map about the material, and it can be reviewed and combined the next day. All of these ideas would apply, to a certain degree, to learning at a work conference or training session as well.

No matter what standing in life you have, mind maps can make you learn more, accomplish more, and be more successful. You have learned various methods for using mind maps. You can put your own personal twist on any of them. None of these rules are written in stone. The possibilities of what you can do with mind maps are really endless, and so are the possibilities of what they can do for you. It really just depends on how far you want to take it and how creative you get with them.