One of the best ways to organize your thoughts is through Mind Mapping. This concept has been around for a while and it is one of those rare things in life where there is no right or wrong. Mind Mapping can be used for planning team projects or just as a personal way to keep track of your thoughts. Let's take a closer look at the concept.
What is a Mind Map?
Business Dictionary provides a comprehensive definition for Mind Mapping here, but essentially a Mind Map is a diagram. It uses images, words, lines, and colors to plot out ideas. Via visual conceptions, "its purpose is to focus attention, and to capture and frame knowledge to facilitate sharing of ideas and concepts." Mind Maps begin with a main idea in the center and continue with other ideas that branch out from it, and users of them claim increased productivity and creativity.
Here is a simple example:
About Mind Mapping
- The concept has been around for centuries, but in the late 1960s, Tony Buzan trademarked the type of Mind Map generally used today.
- Mr. Buzan lists steps for creating Mind Maps on his website, but you can do it however works best for you.
- Mind Mapping can be done by hand with colored pens and pencils or with any of the numerous software tools available. There are some added benefits to using software: links to websites or other documents can be embedded, editing is simpler, and it is easy to copy and share with other people. You can find mind mapping product reviews here.
Mind Mapping helps with:
- Creativity: Mind Maps are a creative way to organize your thoughts. Images and words together are more engaging to our brains.
- Thinking: Research suggests that our brains work by connecting one idea to the next and the next and the next, etc. Mind Mapping your thoughts will help you see the whole picture.
- Business: Mind Maps are great for projects or even just organizing a lot of data. You can download an interesting guide for why and how to use mind mapping in business here. Moreover, CNBC has this recent article about using Mind Mapping in financial advising, and PC Magazine offers advice for using a Mind Map for project management here.
- Teamwork: Everyone can participate in creating a Mind Map with all the ideas being jotted down and then connected.
Mind Mapping is a good alternative to taking notes and can really be useful at the beginning of a project. It can be a little difficult for people who are traditionally very logical, but it is still a helpful brainstorming tool. If you try it yourself or encourage your staff or coworkers to do so as well, you might be surprised by the difference it makes.