I wish I knew about this technique when I was in high school & college. Writing term papers would have been much more exciting!
It's a creativity technique that's been around since the 70s, but I first heard about it only a year ago.
The idea behind it is to literally map out your thinking. Our brain is wired to think in associations and connections, kind of like a spider web or branches from a tree. So why are we still stuck taking notes with the old, linear Roman Numeral system?
I. Mind Mapping
Mind Mapping is much more fun and effective. :)
It's used in businesses, collaboration, psychology, note-taking, brain-storming, etc. I personally use it a lot to journal or schedule out my week. Sometimes I use it when I'm facing a challenge and need to sort out my thoughts.
So how do you Mind Map?
This is what works for me:
- Pick a main topic.
- Draw a circle in the center of your paper. This circle is going to be slightly larger than the other circles, which you'll draw later.
- Write down your main topic inside the big circle. Or draw a picture.
- Look at your topic. What's the first thought that pops into your head? Write it down anywhere on your paper. This is a subtopic. Circle it.
- Repeat Step 4 for any other ideas or themes that come to you. If you have 3 subtopics, you'll have 3 small bubbles.
- Connect your bubbles to the main topic. You can draw a simple line or fancy doodles. Whatever floats your boat.
- Now branch off of each subtopic, and repeat the brainstorming process. What's the first thing that pops into your head when you look at one of your bubbles? Write it down near the bubble. Draw your connecting branch.
Pretty soon you'll have a map that looks like this:
It's one of my favorite little tricks that helps keep me sane and focused. :)
Happy Mind Mapping
How do you like to organize your thoughts?