What is mind mapping? It is one of the best ways to picture thoughts and ideas into visual form. It is not just note taking. Mind mapping makes you more creative, helps you to remember better and to solve problems you would not cope with otherwise.
Mind Map Explained.
A mind map is a diagram. It connects information to one central subject. The diagram has a tree-like or a radial structure. You have the main idea or problem and the branches are related subjects, topics and resources. Such a representation could be used for almost anything. Sketching ideas, studying a subject, approaching a complex problem, pursuing personal goals. It could be sketched on paper but there are also software solutions, where you can attach files, documents and add links. It is also widely used for brainstorming and presentations.
Mind Maps Are Better Than Text Notes.
Notes consist of text. Ideas should be translated to text and then decoded back. Notes are linear. They are laid down in sequence and often the order matters to grasp the whole concept. Let us point out the advantages of mind mapping:
- A graphical representation that incorporates text, images, numbers, data and colors. Thus it is more enjoyable to create and review. Easier to remember as it involves visual representation of concepts. A combinations of text and graphics is reported to be six times better for remembering than just text.
- They group concepts through natural associations. We may have many varities with text or text and graphics combined. Still, these documents might be written with a different purpose, scope and from different point of view.
- Mind mapping can point out interconnections. It allows us to understand and remember the information from different sources. It can represent a point of view which may differ from what is conveyed in several separate documents.
- It is an intuitive way to organize one’s thoughts in the way our brain works. We may break the linear representation and connect bits and pieces of information needed for the current situation.
- Mind mapping is a quick way to generate ideas. It allows us to grasp a concept as a whole and represent it without much references to other sources of information.
What do we get from mind mapping? A survey shows that people using mind mapping started to solve tasks significantly faster. It helps you study less, because you understand the information in the process of creation the map. A mind map holds a visual representation of all important concepts and information in a way that it is easy to remember. It is a graphical and symbolic representation of many concepts and lines of text in a way that you can grasp it faster.
How to Start Mind Mapping.
A basic way to do that is just grab a pen and paper. Software tools could also be used, for example, One Note. Doing graphical notes reinforces the act of learning and understanding concepts through the act of physical involvement. Digital mind maps on the other hand are easier to store and search.
There are also many dedicated mind mapping tools – check out the Mind Mapping Software blog. In general, evaluate these features when picking mind mapping software: ability for links and attachments, adding notes, filter and search the content, export to other formats, keyboard shortcuts.
Having selected our tools, let us check these mind mapping steps:
- Always start in the center. It gives your mind freedom to spread out and build connections and links in all directions.
- Use an image for your central idea.
- Use colours. Colours are meaningful and easier to remember as images. Colours add emotional touch and unleash creativity.
- Start connecting the main branches to the central concept. Then connect second and third level branches to the main branches. Your brain works by association. It needs to make connections between concepts and information to get the meaning out of it.
- Draw curved lines and shapes. It is boring and constraining for your brain to look at a diagram consisting of perfect shapes and straight lines.
- Use ONE keyword per line. Single keywords are almost as powerful as images. Don’t clutter with text. Text needs reading and decoding – it takes time and brainpower.
- Images all over. Use images in your branches, not only the central concepts. An image is worth a thousand words.
Image source: https://www.mindtools.com/media/Diagrams/mindmap.jpg