Want to organize your life—and your business? Use a mind map.
Not only can mind maps improve your memory (you’re six times more likely to remember something if you use words and images), they help you to take in a mass of information at a glance.
A mind map helps you to reduce stress and achieve your goals
Creating a mind map can help if you:
- Need to manage complex projects, or a lot of information (use a mind map when you’re plotting your next novel, or launching a new product);
- Feel overwhelmed—creating a mind map helps you to spot creative solutions to the knottiest challenges;
- Track people and processes. Use a mind map whenever you’re trying to manage a group, quote on a complex project, or complete a major project on time and on budget (without losing your sanity);
- Need to learn something: studying is easier when you mind map your notes.
I love using mind maps for all my writing, whether I’m writing for clients, ghostwriting a novel, or developing a series of presentations. (Explore Canva’s mind map templates to create exciting, professional presentations.)
Let’s look at some mind map tips.
(Unfamiliar with using a mind map? Here’s a quick overview of mind mapping.)
1. Start with a description of your project, goal, or challenge
A mind map can help you to manage projects, achieve your goals, and solve challenges, BUT you need to be clear on what you’re trying to do. So start by describing your challenge; a quick description avoids later confusion and improves results.
A couple of examples:
- “My client needs me to oversee a product launch, the deadline is (add a date.) The product is (describe the product in a sentence.)”
- “I need to create appealing main characters for a cosy animal mystery series: an engaging heroine and her dog.”
2. Facing a time crunch? Use a separate mind map for each process in a project
I like to use a mind map for each stage of a project to speed things up, but your mileage may vary. You can create one giant mind map for the project if you choose—use an A3 sheet of paper (tape on another sheet if you need a bigger canvas), or an app (ensure that your app allows an unlimited canvas size.)
For example, you might create these mind maps for a large project:
- Research and project notes;
- Brainstorming and ideas;
- Timelines for production and promotions;
- Bottlenecks… Etc.
When creating multiple mind maps, create a “dashboard” map, which links all the maps.
3. Aim for quantity, then prune your mind maps for quality (optional)
When you’re creating a mind map, be prolific. Add lines, branches and ideas; avoid editing, or overthinking. Add notes and images too, if you wish.
Next, prune your map if your mind map is too big for you comprehend within seconds. (This step is optional, a big mind map may be perfect for your needs: if you’re studying in preparation for an exam, or when you’re plotting a novel.)
Once you’re done, use the “Save As” or “Duplicate” function on your computer (or create a new map if you’re mapping manually.) Save the new version with the date or version number as part of the filename.
Prune your mind map for clarity, then save the map as a PDF or image, so you can open the map on your devices or share it with others.
4. Pretty is as pretty does: your mind maps are functional tools
Every mind map you create is a tool. Decoration and styling? Optional.
Of course you can turn a mind map into a work of art if you wish—many apps make this easy. Doodling can help your creativity too. However most of your mind maps will be simple, and functional.
Take time to style your mind maps when using them as:
- Teaching tools;
- Presentations; or
- Sharing them with others.
A mind map helps you to become more creative and innovative
Mind maps help you to develop unexpected ideas. Whenever you run out of ideas, or your thinking is stale and predictable, create a mind map.
Have fun with the process. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.