Mind mapping is a visual information management tool that helps us structure, organize, memorize, arrange, brainstorm and learn information in a highly specialized way.
Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.
In a mind map, as opposed to traditional note taking or a linear text, information is structured in a way that resembles much more closely how your brain actually works. Since it is an activity that is both analytical and artistic, it engages your brain in a much, much richer way, helping in all its cognitive functions. And, best of all, it is fun!
Mind Maps were popularized by author and consultant, Tony Buzan. They use a two-dimensional structure, instead of the list format conventionally used to take notes. This makes information easier to remember, as it’s held in a format that our minds find easy to recall and quick to review.
A good Mind Map shows the “shape” of the subject, the relative importance of individual points, and the ways in which facts relate to one another. Research shows that this is of particular benefit when dealing with complex information, such as during business planning and strategy development.
Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, and often take up just one side of paper. This helps you to make associations and to generate new ideas . You can also add new information easily, even to a Mind Map that you’ve already drawn.
Mind Mapping can also help you to break down large projects or topics into manageable chunks, so that you can plan effectively without getting overwhelmed and without forgetting something important.
Benefits of Mind Mapping
The benefits of mind mapping are extensive and far-reaching. In a general way, mind mapping expands our ability to think laterally and logically in any given situation.
Mind maps helps in
- Helps you grasp a big picture overview of the subject under study.
- Improves your capacity to explore detailed snippets of information.
- Helps improve your memory, retention, and comprehension of information.
- Helps you organize information into easy to remember chunks.
- Helps reduce mental clutter, cope with information overload, and overwhelm.
- Stimulates the imagination and encourages creative insights and ideas.
- Helps enhance your level of focus and concentration while working or studying.
- Helps expand your ability to take effective, better organized, and more comprehensive notes.
- Makes learning and organizing information fun and exciting, which subsequently strengthens your interest in the subject matter.
- Helps accelerate your ability to solve complex problems.
- Improved your capacity to manage your academic workload.
- Helps unlock hidden understandings within information chunks.
- Helps unlock unexpected creative insights and ideas.
- Helps you save time while working, studying or learning.
- Helps you to prepare for tests and examinations.
- Helps provide you with more clarity about your goals, ideas, and actions.
- Helps triggers creative associations between seemingly unrelated bits of information.
Uses of Mind Mapping
Mind Maps are useful for:
- Brainstorming – individually, and as a group.
- Summarizing information.
- Taking notes.
- Consolidating information from different sources.
- Thinking through complex problems.
- Presenting information clearly.
- Studying and memorizing information.
How to Draw a Mind Map
Start in the middle of a blank page, writing or drawing the idea you intend to develop. I would suggest that you use the page in landscape orientation
- Develop the related subtopics around this central topic, connecting each of them to the center with a line.
- Repeat the same process for the subtopics, generating lower-level subtopics as you see fit, connecting each of those to the corresponding subtopic.
Using Mind Maps Effectively
Once you understand how to take notes in the Mind Map format, you can develop your own conventions for taking them further. The following suggestions can help you to get the most from your Mind Maps:
- Use Single Words or Uncomplicated Phrases – Keep things simple. In Mind Maps, single strong words and short, meaningful phrases can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter a Mind Map.
- Print Words – They will be easier to read than joined-up or indistinct writing.
- Use Color to Separate Different Ideas – Color can help to show the organization of the subject. It can also make your Mind Map a more appealing document, and help you to visualize the different sections of your Mind Map for future recall.
- Use Symbols and Images – Pictures can help you to remember information more effectively than words, so use symbols or pictures that mean something to you, use it.
- Using Cross-Linkages – Information in one part of a Mind Map may relate to another part, so draw lines to show these cross-linkages. This will help you to see how one part of the subject affects another.