Sometimes there is something you want to do and other things keep getting in the way. Writing about Mind Mapping is one of those things. I have been doing mind maps for 25 years and they have been a huge help to me in my career and life. I often tell people that doing mind maps is like cheating. Its like cheating because for any particular topic doing a mind map will access all parts of your brain and get out all of the pertinent information on any subject. I use them weekly for my to do list for the week. I have used them with my partner as a way for us to design a course. I use them as a help in composing letters, developing project time lines and now on line with others for group brainstorms. There is great software that helps you create mind maps. It is called Mind Manager and it is put out by Mind Jet. One of the beautiful things about this software is you can get a free 30 day trial and there are the best tutorials I’ve ever seen, DUH, they are all mind maps.
Why do mind maps work? They work because the brain operates in circles. A simple way to think about this is to think of millions of bits of information in the brain flowing in circles. When two bits of information intersect an idea is formed. Mind maps facilitate the collection of those bits of information, where as creating linear lists forces the brain to work in a way that is not natural for it and consequently you don’t get all of the information available to you. Another way of saying this is that lists are very left brain and mind map thinking is very right brain and left brain.
If this seems confusing to you then I suggest you simply Google mind maps and see what you come up with. I guarantee the time you put into this will be one of the best time uses you will ever have.
Why doesn’t every one use mind maps? Because it is not the way we are taught in America. We are taught the importance of left brain thinking. We are taught to make and use lists. Much of education is rote learning. Anything thought of differently will be hard for people to accept. I have one client who has changed his life by using mind maps in his work. He tells me people come to his office every day and laugh at him because of his funny looking colored mind map on his desk. Its just a new way of thinking and most aren’t comfortable with it.
Its very easy to start using mind maps. Simply take a piece of paper and turn it sideways. Put the main idea you want to brainstorm on in the middle of the paper and start freethinking of all of the things related to that topic. Draw one line out from the center of the paper for each idea, then from that idea start other lines off that idea for all of the related ideas it brings up. I could show you examples but the tutorials on the mind jet site and in the software are so good I couldn’t do justice to them.
Do yourself a favor and start using your whole mind with mind maps, you wont regret it.