Mind Mapping

Whole-brain thinking with mind maps –

Have you ever thought about whether you are using your full brain potential to solve a problem? Most certainly not. Most of the times, we limit our creativity and thinking because we follow a linear approach to our problems.

Mind Mapping
Mind-Map-Emoji

Mind mapping is the process where we condition our brain to think in a normal, organic and progressive way using ‘mind maps’. A mind map is a tool that enables one to boost their imagination, think creatively and horizontally expand their thoughts leading to a breakthrough or best possible solution to a problem.

Developed by Tony Buzan, this technique has time and again proven to enhance the thinking capabilities of the brain. In his book “Mind maps for business”, Tony Buzan has demonstrated how mind mapping technique can solve any business problem big or small. Because of a better generation of ideas, innovation, and strategic thinking, business outcomes are better.

Creating a simple mind map

The mind map is based on a simple central idea. The idea is what you are seeking a solution for. To start with, ask yourself the following questions

What do I need to achieve my aim?
What are my specific objectives?
If my aim was to be a book, what would be the chapters?
Am I able to answer the 6W1H – what, when, why, where, who, which and how?

Let us take a use case and see how to create a simple mind map diagram to solve the problem at hand. You can then use this example to think of a problem you are facing and see if the same technique can help you – it most certainly will!

Before reading further, make a simple to-do list with all the activities that you would want to do today. Once done, keep it aside.

Have a look at this mind map diagram –
Mind Mapping To Do
Mind Mapping To Do
Image source – Mind maps for business (book)

On a typical day, we think of accomplishing a lot of tasks, but we forget some of them. Creating a simple mind map for all the tasks will help us to remember all of them and work towards each in a more organized way.

How?

As we can see in the above mind map (image), we see everything in one place, it is easier to remember (Pictures are more appealing than a lot of text). You can add a lot of pictures similar to the telephone above, for example, a picture for email, pens, colors, printer, etc…

The tool also mandates that we write only one word per branch unless absolutely needed so that we only focus on the ‘keywords’ and thus we remember them in just a single (or a few) glances. The entire diagram goes into your mind as a single frame!

A few things to note in the above mind map –
  • The To-Do is the main idea or task or problem
  • The branches that come out from the central point are thick and as we move away from the center, the branches become thinner. The lowest level of detail has the thinnest sub-branches.
  • There is no limit to the number of branches we can create in a single mind map. For example, in the above mind map, meeting with clients can further be divided and we can write more specific details about each client with timings or agenda and so on.
  • Although mind maps can be created using iMindMap software, in the beginning, try to do them with pencil and paper. This will ensure a continuous flow of thoughts and ideas.
  • The branches should not be straight. They should be curvy to indicate the flow of thoughts.

How much of the diagram do you remember now? And, how much of the to-do list that you wrote do you remember – that’s something to think about.

Don’t confuse non-mind-map with a mind map. Proto or non-mind-maps look similar to mind maps but they don’t connect ideas or encourage your brain to think about more ideas. These could be facts presented in a graphical form, that have nothing to do with a business problem or creative thinking.

Wrapping up….

Think of mind map as a note-taking tool where you can collate your thoughts in any random order and keep building them. You can read it anytime, add more to it and most importantly remember what you want to focus on. There are many applications of mind maps in business and education to improve critical thinking, focus, and soft skills.

Read more about mind maps here.

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