We live in the information age. Our brains are taking in images, advertisements, social interaction and information every minute of the day. It’s enough to make you feel as if your head is about to explode. The human brain can reasonably only hold 7 pieces of information at a time. Do you know anyone who only has 7 things to remember? Exactly. Mind Mapping is simple yet life changing. An incredibly effective way to get all that information running around in your brain out, mind mapping can be done at any time, anywhere. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pencil.
Why Mind Map?
Think of your brain like a computer. If you keep opening tabs, and opening tabs and opening tabs, pretty soon your computer is going to slow down. The same with your brain. If you keep feeding information in, pretty soon your brain is going to become less effective. So how do you close the tabs in your brain? Two ways-either complete the task, or write the information down.If you keep feeding information in, pretty soon your brain is going to become less effective. Click To Tweet
However, have you ever taken a moment to write your to-do list and thought “there isn’t that much here.” Why is is that I feel so completely overwhelmed? Probably because you’ve written down those 7 or so tasks you remember. But there’s a lot more that you need to take care of, right? It’s in your head. Somewhere.
And that is where mind mapping comes in. I’m going to show you how to get that information OUT!
What Is A Mind Map?
Mind Mapping starts with a central subject. Then your ideas, thoughts, and to-do’s radiate out like branches, building upon one another. This is why mind mapping is so powerful:
- it mimics the non-linear way our brains think “Oh, yeah! That reminds me! I need to do this!”
- mind mapping unleashes our creativity
- therefore mind mapping helps us solve problems
For instance, let’s say your central subject could be “house projects.” First, draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper and write “house projects” inside.Then draw lines like large tree branches coming out of the circle. Perhaps, get living room repainted, mulch in spring etc. Now, take that even further and draw smaller branches off of “get living room painted” such as: look up article on best way to paint, choose paint color, purchase drop cloths, purchase paint rollers, get painter’s tape etc. You can go even further and branch off of “choose paint color” and write: ask my designer friend to help, ask Jennifer the color of her living room etc.
Here’s one example:
Basically, you keep branching out until you have emptied your brain of all the thoughts and tasks related to that one subject. This process is a natural way of making associations and helps you do a deep dive into your subject and generate more ideas. Trust me, after you are done you will say “ahhh.” I presented this idea to my networking group and one woman said “this is amazing! This will save me from Monkey Mind!” Why yes, yet it will.
Make as many mind maps as you need. Perhaps you need one for each child. Or one for different aspects of your business-product creation, marketing, billing etc.
Want to know even more about mind mapping? Get The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential by Tony Buzan. Psss…He’s the guru of mind mapping.
Mind Mapping Tools
I’m the kind of person who thinks best when I write things down. So I mind map using just a piece of paper and a newly sharpened pencil. However, you might be a digital person. Here are some great-and free- mind mapping programs:
The MindMapping Software Blog suggests you look for 5 key features in a software program before you buy:
- ability to link to websites and files and attach files and pictures
- write topic notes elsewhere so you can write detailed information without clogging up your mind map
- filter. Perhaps you want to highlight only the branches that are tasks, or highlight certain tasks that you will delegate
- export to Word, Powerpoint or a PDF
- keyboard shortcuts so you can quickly add topics and sub topics
Ok, so now you’ve done your mind map and you have all that garbled mess out of your head and on paper (or on the computer.) Now what to you do with it? Well, I could write for hours on how to organize your to-do list and your time. I totally geek out on this stuff. But then this blog post would take an hour to read and I know you don’t have that kind of time.
Therefore, look for blog posts in the future about time blocking and using the Eisenhower Square, just to give you a teaser.
For now, just look at just one branch of your mind map and put the tasks in your calendar or planner. Then sit back and enjoy the feeling of an uncluttered brain. You’ve got this.
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