In yesterday’s post, I discussed the power and simplicity of mind maps to help you get organized.
(If you missed it, check it out here.)
Today, I want to give you a quick primer on how to make your own mind map.
If you haven’t used mind maps before, you’ll be mapping in no time. And if you are familiar with the technique, maybe you will pick up a new idea or can share one of your own.
Let’s get mapping!
How to Make Your Mind Map
As I mentioned in the previous post, you can make your map on paper or with a software application. I prefer making mind maps on a computer because it brings much more flexibility for editing. For this example, I am using MindMeister which is a great online mapping tool. (affiliate link)
Let’s jump right in and make our first map.
Here are the basic steps…
- Start with a Central Topic or Idea – Most mind maps are based around one central topic or idea. Maybe you are making a project list, trying to look the options for a decision, or planning a trip. Whatever your topic, place it in the center and your subtopic branches will flow out from there.
- Add a Subtopic or Two – Start your map by adding a branch or two. Add a subtopic and even topics below that, if appropriate. Subtopics can be questions, lists, whatever. Soon, your creative juices will be flowing and ideas will develop from each other.
- Let Your Ideas Flow – When I make mind maps, I let my ideas flow as quickly as I can document them. Get the thoughts out of your head. Don’t censor yourself, and add even the silliest of ideas to your map. When you edit the map you can organize the ideas.
- Move Things Around – One of the powerful features of mind mapping applications is the simplicity of dragging topics from branch to branch. As ideas quickly flow you will find that some subtopics are related or can be combined. Move topics to connect similar ideas or groupings. You will be surprised how easily you can quickly collate disparate ideas into an organized map.
- Trim the Tree – I make my mind maps quick and dirty until I am done. Then and only then will I spiff them up and make them fancy. I usually only do this if I am presenting or publishing them. They are you maps… you can decide how fancy or colorful to make them.
Here is a quick video example of me creating a simple mind map.
If you can’t see this video in your browser, click here to view it.
Tools To Use
I often get asked for productivity tool recommendations. For mind mapping, here are my favorites:
- MindMeister – MindMeister is a great online mind mapping tool. You can create a free account and you can upgrade to a premium account with more storage. I like it because it is fast, online, and allows me to access my maps from any computer without worrying about syncing. They also have an iPad app which I am testing out now.
- iThoughts HD – If you are using an iPad, this is an outstanding mind mapping tool. I use it quite often. It leverages the iPad’s touch interface well. It also allows easy transfer and exporting of maps. It costs $9.99 in the iTunes App Store.
- MindManager – MindManager is a top notch mind mapping application. I used it for many years. However, at $249 and $349 (Mac and Windows respectively) it is difficult to recommend.
As mind mapping has become more mainstream, many options have developed. If you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below.
Your Map – Your Imagination
Mind mapping is a quick and powerful technique for organizing your thoughts.
Whether you are planning a vacation, listing your tasks, or managing a major project, mind mapping can help you keep things on track.
Some people may try to tell you the “rules” of making a mind map.
Don’t listen to them.
It’s your map. Your imagination is the limit.
Be creative and make your own mind map today.
How have you used mind mapping in your daily activities? Share your examples in the comments below?