Have you heard of mind maps? You might have heard of mind mapping if you work in the corporate world, but mind maps are a great tool to organize your entire life. You don’t need any special tools or skill to organize using mind maps. They might be just the thing to get your thoughts out a of a jumbled mess in your brain, and into some useful form so that you can actually start to get things done.
A mind map is, at its basic form, a representation of a central idea, and then all the sub ideas and further sub-topics that relate to that, flowing out as branches from that central idea.There’s practically no learning curve to start using mind maps to organize.
I do most of my mind maps with pen and paper, or on the back of an envelope. They are great for organizing projects, groups, and study materials, but they are also a way for groups to collaborate and capture ideas, and they are brilliant for brainstorming and generating ideas, either alone or in a group.
Mind maps work just as well for large business projects as well as personal stuff. Here’s a mind map that I did very quickly to help me think about everything related to my surgery. You can see it’s nothing fancy, and you don’t need colors or stickers or even pictures, although you might want to. Some people think they had to be crafty or artistic to use mind maps, but you can see here that’s not the case at all!
You could even do a mindmap on how to get organized!
[ctt template=”4″ link=”j31cR” via=”yes” ]Mind maps are an effective way to organize your thoughts. You could even do mind maps on how to get #organized! #HeartWorkOrganizing @DarlaDeMorrow[/ctt]
Some people say that mind maps really help them break through a roadblock when they want to make a list, but can’t. With mind maps, they don’t have to put things in the wrong order or worry about getting overwhelmed with too much information. Sketching out a mind map allows you to rapidly switch between one topic and another, making quick connections in exactly the same way your brain works. Rather than a linear list, this is a non-linear way of capturing all of your thoughts about a project (or whatever) without having to stop and put things in a specific order.
Those who follow the Getting Things Done (GTD) method can find mind maps a great tool to empty your head of all the little details, while capturing them on one page.
I’ve always used pen and paper, but there are plenty of apps now that can help you do this electronically. Some mind map apps can turn the topics and sub-topics into tasks on a task list for you. Some apps integrate with task list apps like Google Drive and ToDoIst. Perfectionists tend to like apps because you can easily incorporate color, and it looks orderly as soon as you start. If this appeals to you, you most likely lean heavily towards visual information, so whatever app you use, you might want to print out your final mind map and post it on your fridge or in your office so that you can follow up as you work through a project. You could also snap a picture or export your mind map to Evernote, so you don’t have to keep another piece of paper.
If you are interested in using a mind map app, I recommend that you do one on paper first (might take you less than 10 minutes). Choose a topic that’s not very complex, like “Why I love my pet” or “Owning a dog.” Then use that to teach yourself how to use the app, so you aren’t trying to learn both the mind map concept and the software at the same time.
There are plenty of mind map apps out there. I’ve tried one or two, but I always come back to paper. You can try these to see what works for you:
I’ve linked to this video from Tony Buzan, who is widely cited as being an expert on mind maps. This video will show you the ways you can incorporate colors, shapes and images into your mindmaps, but ***CAUTION*** these are not essential to getting organized! There is no perfect way to use any creative tool!!!
If you try mind maps for the first time after you read this article, I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Please come back and comment. You can get back here easily if you pin it now.