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MindMapping–A Helpful Way to Organize Ideas, Projects, Goals, Resources & More

  • Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the amount of information you have to keep track of?
  • Or confused about how to best remember, sort, and prioritize all the ideas coming into your head about goals, work projects, home projects, etc.?
  • Do lists get too large and cumbersome for you to be able to quickly pull out key ideas and relationships between ideas or tasks?

Over the years I've tried many systems of recording and organizing information. Different "systems" have worked well for different situations, and one of my favorites–especially for the ideas and projects I have in mind for my business–is called MindMapping. It's especially great for visual or abstract thinkers.

According to Wikipedia, "a mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches. Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea."

The term "mind map" was popularized by British pop psychology author and BBC TV personality, Tony Buzan. He promoted the use of radial "tree-like" structures of ideas or information with various "branches" and "leaves" to represent streams of thought or tasks as headings, subheadings and sub-subheadings vs. the typical linear outline form [I. A. 1. a. 1)  a)  etc.].

According to Buzan, "traditional" outlines such as the example above force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom, which slows down the processing of information between the brain hemispheres. With mind maps, readers can scan the entire page quickly in a "bird's eye view" fashion, allowing both hemispheres to process simultaneously. It can also improve the recall of information, as the mind can better "pull up" the visual components of the mindmap.

Mindmaps can be drawn by hand or created with software programs that convert linear text into a spider-like map. There are many many ways to create your mind map. For a variety of examples, view these Google images.

Mind Map Guidelines

Here are Buzan's suggested guidelines for creating a mind map:

1.Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
2.Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.
3.Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
4.Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
5.The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
6.Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
7.Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
8.Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
9.Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
10.Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

And here's a mind map illustrating the linear outline above! (double click on picture to enlarge for easier reading)


If you'd like to get some free mind mapping software to use, here are a few recommendations:

The original Buzan MindMap software (free trial)

The Brain (free download)

FreeMind (free download)

If you have or create a mind map you'd like to share, please attach it to a blog comment so we can see your creative work!

Do you need help creating ideas for your business to mind map and start implementing? Schedule a complimentary MMM Strategy Session with me to identify your goals and create IMMEDIATE ACTION steps to take so you can get more clients, make more money, and make a difference in more lives!

Your partner in success,

Lisa Smith
Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach

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