A mind map is a creative and effective diagram that literally ‘maps out’ your thoughts. Mind maps are not only the “ultimate organizational thinking tool”, they are also simple to use and helpful in a wide range of situations. Mind maps can be used in any situation where you would like to organize your thoughts - whether you are brainstorming career paths, studying for a final, problem solving, building new habits, or even learning a new language. With the help of a mind map, a long and messy list of boring information can turn into a clear graphic that makes information easier to understand and remember.
A mind map gives you an overview of a topic by gathering and organizing large amounts of information in one place. The centre of a mind map displays a central idea or topic, which branches out to relevant information or secondary points. A mind map can also be extended to include tertiary points, when secondary points become their own central ideas or topics and branch out to additional information. Through the same pattern, a mind map can continue to be extended until it contains all of the information that you need it to. You can also customize your mind map by using specific colours, symbols, or shapes to represent particular ideas. With a mind map in hand, you have a head start to success!
7 Tips to Create an Effective Mind Map:
1. Start in the centre of a blank canvas
Whether you are using a sheet of paper or your favourite notes app, starting in the centre of your canvas empowers you to express yourself by giving you the freedom to share your thoughts in any direction they take you.
2. Use an image to represent your central idea
Compared to plain text, a central image is more interesting, can inspire deeper thoughts, and can help you recall the information in your mind map later.
3. Make use of colours
Don’t bore yourself with a monotonous mind map! Colours are exciting to the brain and can add vibrancy, energy, and life to your mind map.
4. Connect your ideas with branches
Did you know that the brain works through the principle of association? This means that it is easier for us to understand and remember things that are connected, so don’t forget to connect all of the components of your mind map with branches!
5. Curve your branches
Straight lines are common and can make your mind map seem boring. Curved lines are far more attractive and intriguing to our eye, which can help keep you engaged.
6. Use one keyword per idea
Compared to phrases or full sentences, single keywords give your mind map more comprehensive power and flexibility. A single keyword can trigger multiple other thoughts, while a sentence can limit your thinking and impede this triggering effect.
7. Use creative shapes or images
Each image, shape, or symbol is worth a thousand words! Use these graphics to help you retain the information in your mind map and make learning joyful.