“Mind Mapping is one of the most effective, ‘brain-friendly’ ways for you to turn your unorganized, fleeting ideas and thoughts into a structured, visual “map.” A mind map resembles the visual aspects of a flow chart and the organization structure of an outline.”
Facts say that we usually utilize 1%-10% (or more in case of exceptions) of our brain and that also only one part. Mind Mapping makes us to use both the parts of our brain resulting in becoming more organized, stay more focused, sharp memory and managed thoughts. Your are always in control and running your life by your own.
Mind Maps naturally hook into your right brain, where creativity and intuition (also called Super Intelligence) comes into picture to help you.
How to do a Mind Map
Use a blank piece of paper and pencil, work quickly without any pause, judgment or editing. Remember pausing, judging or editing encourages linear thinking and partial analysis and the aim in that case becomes to have perfect analysis before you finish. The basic principle behind MindMapping is to think creatively in a non-linear fashion.
Start with your central idea as the center of the map. Think up new ideas, action plans and strategies that correspond to it and impact it. Remember that MindMapping emphasizes on using keywords and one word identifiers in the nodes/ branches in the map, rather than bogging the map with descriptive irrelevant information. Mind relies more on keywords that is self descriptive and relevant.
MindMaps now days have been ported to computers also, not by scanning the hard copy and uploading but by abundance of specialized software (I use FreeMind as its open source, free and provides all sort of features that I need. Although you might not find it as flexible as the hand drawing but that is a constraint with all the software available in market today).
Comparison of hand drawn MindMap and the one drawn using FreeMind software:
Fig-1. Mind Mapping by Hand
Fig-2. Mind Mapping by Computer Software
Now since we know the MindMap concept, let’s see the main differences of MindMapping using hand drawing and using a software in terms of a MindMap diagram itself
Tony Buzan (author and educational consultant, a big proponent of MindMap techniques) has defined some rules for effective Mind Mapping:
- Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
- Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
- Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
- Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
- The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the center.
- Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
- Use colors – your own code – throughout the Mind Map.
- Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
- Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
- Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.
MindMapping Software and Online Tools:
- FreeMind: This is a good Open Source, free software that provides great features to create Mindmaps.
- VYM (View Your Mind): This is another good MindMapping tool completely free to use.
- bubbl.us, is a great site providing online MindMapping facility with cool node bubbles. Experiment with MindMaps first here if you want to create one yourself. You need not even login into this site to create a MindMap. Just click on “Start Brainstorming” and you are all set to fly with your imagination.