Using mind maps to untether your brain
17th August 2012 · 0 Comments
My daughter loves Criminal Minds and before that it was CSI – any version would do. Have you ever noticed how all of the episodes with a difficult case to solve start out with them drawing on the white board, posting pictures, writing in facts that they know and drawing lines between connections?
When they gather more facts and evidence, they can start to picture how things fit together. It allows them to ask the right questions and work backwards to solve a crime.
In everyday life, we aren’t really solving crimes, but we are attempting to put all the pieces together to ensure our success, whether it be a large project, professional goal, to solve a problem or respond to an opportunity.
This process is similar to a mind mapping process, and it also works to generate new ideas and work forward. Its power lies in the simplicity!
Mind mapping is an extremely helpful way of getting information out of your brain. It helps draw out and connect the logical – as well as the creative – the left and right side of our brains. There is no doubt that we are heavily weighted on the left side. Bringing out creative juices by expanding the right-side elements of our brains can help us get to a solution in an organic, easy and quick way – a way in which our left brains won’t allow us to arrive.
Consider using a mind map for brainstorming (either by yourself or a group), note taking, consolidating research from different sources (think cop show), thinking through complex projects, or memorizing large amounts of information.
Here’s how to begin:
- Start with the main idea you’re working with at the center of the page. Maybe it’s a large project, or a goal you want to achieve. Circle it or draw a picture.
- The next step is to brainstorm subheadings (or branches) from your main topic and label them. These could be important facts, PROJECTS that relate to the subject or ACTION items needed to achieve the goal.
- From those subheadings, branches will emerge to break them down even further. This comes from a deeper level of information, and may appear over time.
- More branches still can come from these items as it continues to get broken down.
There are software tools that can help you improve this process, but I like doing it by hand in a notebook. My personal favorite is using a blank sheet of paper with a set of colored markers to mindmap a personal goal. Keep in mind, that there is not one set way of doing this. I’ve even seen people at conferences using sketch pads and colored pencils to take notes using a mind mapping process.
By working with mind maps, you’ll develop your own system over time that helps you organize your thoughts and take this process further. Get your left brain out of the way and start mindmapping!