Mind Map

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INTRODUCTION

I started using mind maps way back at the start of the 80s as I was planning out my future in the US Army, At that time I was a young dude trying to decide the direction for my life. I got married at 20, and my family was already in place, with a beautiful German wife and a couple of beautiful girls (they take after her looks lol).

I had a couple of Army tours in different places under my belt (2 in US, on the 2d in Germany), and at the time I was assigned to a small unit in Bavaria where I knew would have considerable off time, along with the requisite time away from the home for remote duties. I was also 24 years old…

Because of wanting to plan my future and provide for the family, I had to think things through…

Mind mapping provided THE way to visually look at my options at that time, where I could annotate the advantages of one move versus another, and when complete, it showed me clearly the direction I wanted, needed, and determined I was going.

When it was complete, it showed me what I would accomplish, when I wanted it done, and the outcome I expected. Mind mapping was the ideal tool then, and it is a tool I use to this day.

I use myself as an example here to show you that this process works. I followed pretty much the path that mind map provided so long ago, and it served me well. Mind mapping can do this for you too!

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WHAT IS A MIND MAP

This is not some new tool I created or discovered. The concept has been around forever it seems. Cavemen recorded their experiences on walls of their cave. Parchment papers from 1000s of years ago contained mind maps of sorts. Books have been written on the subject. There are software tools you can use today if that is an option you want to go for…

Really it is quite simple…

Literally mind maps are a visual method you use to represent, organize, and understand any kind of information you are trying to sort out. There is no right or wrong way of putting them together, but there are some guidelines and general things to include.

I will mention these today and also provide some tools you can use to automate the process if you want.

Personally I still like the blank piece of paper and colored pens or pencils…Maybe I have something in common with those cavemen?

Mine end up being very colorful, looking like a spider web or maybe a tree with lots branches spreading out in different directions and all over the place. They may have lots of connecting lines and arrows, bold circles and double lines under key points…

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THE PROCESS OF CREATING A MIND MAP

I am now going to walk you through my process for planning a mind map, putting it together by hand. Later I will have a look at software you can use to construct them, as well as the pros and cons of using them. I will stick to the free tools, unless you are a mind map freak, I think they will suffice for 99% of members!

AN IDEA, PROBLEM, DESIRED OUTCOME, IS THE START

This is the central theme of what you are trying to figure out. I start by putting it in the center of my paper and then work my way out, adding points in circles of emphasis…

This whole process works like your brain…You have an idea, which leads to another idea, it shifts to a different related thought, and maybe a question pops up, and etc.

Without writing these different thoughts down, often they will disappear, lost forever (kind of like dreams?). If you write the related thoughts, concerns, questions, and possible solutions for that central issue down on a piece of paper

People think in images normally, not in words…If you think of a beach, it is not the word “beach” that you see, it is a beach…It could be a crappy beach a nice beach a tropical beach, each of us sees the individual beach we envision.

Your beach may have palm trees, white sand, lounge chairs, a bar, a strong sun shining down, blue water, lots of others on the beach, or you alone, etc.

Here is the first step, a beach….See how I have used two words for this main subject…I have added a bold circle and colored it Red denoting that this is the main point, the start of my mind map…(Click on the image to see a larger view)…

Mind Map Sample 1 - Mind Maps - How to Create One Easily

With a mind map, you take the main subject you started with, in this case a beach,  and start filling out the details as mentioned above…The different things you are concerned about for the subject go around that subjext, like this…:

Mind Map sample 3 - Mind Maps - How to Create One Easily

Maybe there are things that are more important to have on your beach, so for these you use a different color as you annotate…Maybe there are some things that are related so you draw a line showing the association.  Perhaps there are things that lead to something else, if so you add an arrow showing this…and so it goes…

Our final product for this simple sample mind map looks like this:

Mind Map Sample 4 gif - Mind Maps - How to Create One Easily

All my important points are there, the colors are used to distinguish the area of iimportance, and the legend on the right and left show how to read the map as well as covers the how and when…

Essentially I have prepared a story here on beaches, what is of importance, what concerns for the areas of importance, where I want to establish my beaches, and how and when I will establish them…

Everything revolves around that central point beaches…The ideas branch out from the main point as they come to mind, and support the main point…

So as you can see a mind map follows how the brain processes information….

Having it written down makes determining paths to follow, solutions that may be indicated, how you will get things done and when, problems you may encounter, effective fixes for these problems all easy to visually see right in front of you.

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So mind map can help you break free of any blocks you may have, you are just free-flowing and annotating the thoughts you have concerning the subject, and results can be quite helpful…

When I was in school (college) I used a similar technique for the vociferous notes I took. I would go through and mark them up using different colors for main points, sub points, and any special thing I wanted to memorize.

I added connections, arrows, stars, bold underlines of certain key words and phrases, all which helped me review. When preparing for an exam, I would study these over the textbook, it was more effective. This worked and still works for me…

Another area I still use mind mapping for is creating posts and articles. I find it easier and more complete process than using an outline. I it follows naturally how my brain functions (as little as it may function that is!). Really I recording my thinking process just as my brain processes information to put together my plan.

One of the reasons I think mind maps work well is that connections help you remember things – using graphics, colors, circles, bold underline, arrows, lines helps you “see” the complete picture, remember it, and act on it…

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WHAT ELSE TO USE MIND MAPS FOR

Basically they can be used for anything you want: You can create things, solve a problem, use them for learning, or planning your future like I did so long ago, basically for anything that may be easy to complex, for which you need to make and see connections between all the pertinent points.

By not following a linear process, you can quickly put it together and see the big picture. I use words, images, lines & color, symbols, numbers and so forth identify and link concepts. Mine often look like kindergarten projects my kids used to so proudly being home to be placed on the position of honor in our house – on the fridge door!

Adding the symbols and etc. by hand helps reinforce to me what is created, also why I do not use software…I get more out of doing it by hand. There has been research showing that writing and imagery together will improve your memory, creativity and cognitive processing. Color adds to this and when used together with the writing and images, they hit many of our senses and make a stronger impression

A closely related subject is brainstorming, and I am sure many if you use this tool as well for things like your business efforts, your next party, your vacation, your vacation house, and so on. You solve problems, come up with alternatives, see potential roadblocks, and it helps get a handle on any situation. Using mind mapping you write down these so you can visually see what is being created…

If your mind map will be seen by others, you may want to edit them a bit so they are cleaner and easier to understand and others can see the connections, problems, and solutions. I have had to clean up many over the years, because I have used them to depict deployments of large groups of people and equipment, how we create and rolled out new equipment, or even write and edit regulations…

Mind maps are a little like infographics too. They can have a vast amount of information in a small space. A goal of making 10,000 USD a month from affiliate marketing as a central goal in a mind map infers a LOT more than the simple words…Add to that the steps involved that surround that central point on your mind map, and you have a LOT of information in a small space, like a picture.

Other areas where mind maps are also useful for is for presentations or when you may be having a serious or not so serious conversation with someone – starting and creating the mind map as you speak adds to the communication process through triggering that visual learning sense…

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SOFTWARE OR HAND PREPARATION?

 

Today there are many tools or software you can use to create mind maps on computers. If you are using then for formal presentations this may be a good choice over hand drawing them, it depends on your intent.

Here’s a sample of an animated power point template you could use:

Mind Map sample 4 - Mind Maps - How to Create One Easily

My only caution is that if you do use such tools do not let it get in the way of your creativity or if in a group or team setting, that it restricts the free flow of ideas and information. Less rigidity is better…

You can find some free tools to use here:

http://www.free-power-point-templates.com/articles/tag/mind-map/

There are good and bad points of using such software in my opinion…

Sample of a mind mapping software tool:

MInd Map Template PP - Mind Maps - How to Create One Easily

PROS

The new mind-mapping software that is out there and related apps have a lot more versatility over the past few years. This includes the free to use tools out there, so unless you have a LOT of mind mapping taskings, these are likely your best choice. Many are able to use real-time virtual collaboration, allow for live brainstorming and discussion for remotely located participants; some will follow the  revisions made by the different users; some have whiteboard capabilities,or perhaps a free-form drawing feature for use in meetings or presentations; some have mobile use capable versions, ; and some are sophisticated enough that you can use the tool for complex projects, etc.

  • The range of software is great from and goes from very simple to use to very advanced tools that may require some training to realize the full potential the tool has.
  • There are some top-rated tools that are free, while others have monthly fees or annual fees.
  • Most are easy to get up and running, and the process to create, modify, and update your mind maps is not hard to get a handle on…Many allow for images to be added, a nice feature.
  • The created mind maps can be downloaded as PDF or other easily managed formats, nice so they can be used as a part of a bigger project or in training, etc..

CONS

Because each has its own set of features, they may or may not be able to do what you want to …

  • In this way they can be somewhat limited – the very definition of mind mapping means that everything should be free flowing, not constrictive.
  • Most of the programs only allow you to use a mouse for drawing with, so they are limited in shapes, drawing and etc.
  • You lose the value of designing and creating the mind map by hand, which itself leads to better cignition and memory of the mind map and points contained therein….

TEST THE SOFTWARE BEFORE BUYING

Test the waters by creating mind maps in free software programs. This will give you a baseline idea of their capabilities. It will also help you determine if you think they’re useful enough to upgrade to those that aren’t free but offer more functions. Also read reviews online to see which programs people like for what types of issues. One program or app might be great for collaborating with co-workers but not very useful for keeping track of a project’s progress.

OK we have covered the two ways of creating mind maps, either by hand or using a software tool…Let’s go over some general points that apply no matter which method you select…

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OTHER GENERAL POINTS TO CONSIDER

Here are some other considerations to mull over as you create your masterpiece! Use each as appropriate, let your creativity flow!

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyUSE SHAPES

Once completed a mind map should provide the overall picture of the subject. It conveys this through visual demonstration of the relationships of the various concepts or points to each other . An effective mind map should provide a quick picture that the viewer will be able to remember and relate to and understand the relationships and thereby the process.

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyUSE PICTURES

Sometimes pictures says a lot more than words, so the pacl a powerful message. Use them as appropriat.

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyUSE BRAINSTORMING

Brainstorming can be used at any point in the mind map creation process, from the planning stage to the final product stage, These two concepts blend together very well…

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyUSE KEYWORDS

I recommend using short keywords or phrases in lieu of full sentences or long strings of verbiage…This is helpful, much like pictures are, because the few words actually act as triggers for your brain to conjure up more thoughts relating to the keywords.

When creating the mind map, do not worry too much about organizing everything in a nice order, just get it onto the page. If you are using brainstorming, try to distill the thoughts offered into these keywords…

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyTOPIC IN THE CENTER OF THE PAGE

Starting in the middle of the page with the topic is useful, because you can add related point 360 degrees around it as the process goes on…

Whatever the topic may be, if you are writing it down, use the keyword tip – make it 1-2 words long. use uppercase letters…Next draw a heavy circle to emphasize that this is the beginning. Add some color to the word and circle. Any viewer will be easily able to see this circle and keyword represents the main event, so to speak.

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyUSE AT LEAST THREE COLORS

I like to use at least three to four different colors. It helps me separate the entries in the mind map area into main point, sub point, third and possibly fourth level points. It also helps memorizing the points if needed.

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyUSE BLANK PAPER

Use a blank sheet of paper if doing the mind mapping by hand. Lined paper can be constricting or confusing to you or the viewer later, and does not lend itself to the free-flow of ideas and thoughts you are looking for with this exercise.

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyCREATE SUBPOINTS 

As you saw in my example above, I added subcategories around my beach theme that I am concerned about. After these were added, I went through each of these sub-points and added in concerns…This is how you proceed until you have a complete picture laid out in front of you…

You connect the main subject to the sub points using arrows and lines, and so on for each level….All lines or branches will connect and lead back to the main point in a mind map, and if you want you can make the first branches the thickest, and have them thinner as you move outwards..

Use images, photos and drawings wherever possible and where it makes sense. But remember this is for you, so do what you feel comfortable with.

Using arrows, symbols, squares, spacing and stars underlining of words, all work together to produce an “image-rich network,” which really is essentially what a mind map is supposed to be.

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyBRANCH OUT 

I went into this above, but adding in points related to points and connecting them is the branching out process you go through. Think about the things that relate to your first subcategories you added, as I did above in the sample mind map. You are adding in the important issues or facts related to these so you will be able to connect them…

You then draw a line for each of these using color, images and bold words, whatever works for you…You then continue in this manner as long as is needed until you have completed your mind map.

You can make the subcategories hierarchical if you like. NOte how I was running out of room so I added these on the left side of the mind map…

checkmark - Mind Maps - How to Create One EasilyPREPARE A FINAL VERSION

Once you have completed the mind map, you may want to edit it a final time, then do a final version based on your draft. This serves several purposes.

  • One, it makes it easier to read and understand for your self.
  • Two, it makes it easier for others you may want to show the mind map to.
  • Three, it reinforces the points in your own mind that you discerned from your exercise.
  • Lastly, it gives one last opportunity to add anything in that you may have missed the first time around
  • When you do this, you can ask yourself what you have learned or what you will do …Maybe you have discovered some other pattern from the exercise that otherwise would not have been apparent?

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OK, we are almost done! I have one last set of quick tips for you to consider as you prepare to get started making your own mind maps…

FINAL TIPS FOR YOU

  • Let your mind free flow for this. If in a group, allow free and open discussion. If there seems to be a point that is causing some problems, just move on, and come back later to it….
  • Your drawing skills are NOT being tested here for this, If you look at my sampke above, it definitely will NOT win any awards for being pretty! But you can use your imagination and add in whatever will help you get the creative juices flowing…
  • You may want to record the session using audio for later reference as to what you were thinking when you did a particular piece of the mind map.
  • Use the colors to differentiate between points or branches or steps….However you feel comfortable with, they will help you see the organization in the disorganization of the mind map…
  • If you do get stuck, ask yourself why. If a group, ask the group this same question…This will push the brain(s) to come up with an answer and that may break the “being stuck” feeling…
  • This exercise does not have to be done in one sitting…It can be but it is not absolutely necessary. Often I have left a mind map I am working on to take care of other things, and come back later. No matter…
  • Creating the draft and transferring to a final version will help, I mentioned this above but I would like to repeat this. I personally think it is a very important part of the mind mapping process.
  • A mind map can be as simple or as intricate as you choose to make it. It is up to you and based on what you are using the process for, and how deep you want to drill…
  • Do not worry about making things look pretty or accurately depicting a picture you may draw for some point.  If you do worry too much about this, it takes your mind off the free-flowing nature of this exercise, spontanaity is a the goal here to maximize the result!

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CONCLUSION

So there you have it…I hope that you now have a good understanding of what mind mapping is and how it can be used for many facets of your online marketing business. Whether product creation, website design how to sell a product, article or blog posts, the possibilities are endless.

I urge you to grab a piece of paper, some colored pens or pencils, and get started! Have fun with this, there is no right or wrong result, it is a matter of creating something that you can relate to and use for its intended purpose!

Oh yes, please share your experiences with mind maps in your business or personal lives, and maybe add how they have helped you, we can all learn from one another!

Cheers!

David Sweney Online Siganture - Mind Maps - How to Create One Easily

 

14 thoughts on “Mind Maps – How to Create One Easily

  1. This was an informative post and I enjoyed reading through it. I use this mond mapping method myself and can say it works. Good job on this!

    1. Thanks Whitney and I am glad you liked the article. Mind maps are a vey useful tool that I truly believe in and have used for years! Please stop by again to let me know what you think about some of the other posts we have here…Cheers Dave : )

  2. Mind maps are very powerful and I use them often. I first learned about them years ago, not as long ago as you but they have been helpful. Thanks for the good article and I am sure others will find this good for them too!

    1. Hi Ali, Thanks for your input and I could not agree more with your assessment. I am glad that you found the article on mind maps useful and I certainly hope that you will stop by again! I am continuously adding to the content here to help us all advance our online marketing program! Cheers! Dave

    1. You are more than welcome, and I appreciate you taking the time to drop a comment. This particular post on mind maps is one that os close to my heart so to speak, since I have used it successfully over many years and it so easy to use – no laptop or internet connection required lol! Cheers and stop by again please! Dave : )

  3. Hi there mates, how is everything, and what you want to say on the topic of this
    piece of writing, in my view its in fact remarkable in support of me.

    1. Hi Florene, Yes mind maos can be very useful and are so easy to create. I recommend using them for many of your planning exercises and also problem solving. Best of luck and thanks for stopping by! Cheers! Dave : )

  4. Thank you for the comprehensive guide to mind maps!

    I haven’t myself used mind maps (only when it was obligatory at school). But I love write down my goals and think about the direction of life. Your text gave me inspiration to write down my goals in mind maps. I will try it. Probably this tool can help me in goal setting and achieving.

    By the way do you know “the father of mind maps” Tony Buzan? I have thought to buy one of his books about study techniques or speed reading. Have you read any of his books? Do you recommend to read them or listen to his teachings?

    -Roope

    1. Hi Roope,

      I appreciate your stop by here and also that you took the time to drop a note in the comment section! Mind maps are a tool that I have used since literally a young lad, so I do know about them in a lot of detail, just because they are so useful and I use them often.

      Tony Buzan has a wonderful program that he runs and all of his materials I find to be very useful and easy to implement. I would definitely recommend buying whatever he offers that may fit into your program!

      Also I am glad that this post on how to create a mind map was useful for you, and maybe has given you some new impetus or motivation to use the process for yourself. It really works once you get used to the steps involve and put yourself in the right frame of mind to get the most out of the process.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  5. Hey Dave,
    This article is really good at teaching people about how to create mind maps. I have used mind maps to solve several issues I have dealt with and it has always given me new ideas or at least helped my get all the options out on the table.
    Have you found any other methods that are as helpful as making a mind map?
    -Alex

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thanks for the stop by and feedback! Mind maps are something that I use regularly for so many things – really anything I am trying to figure out…

      What you mention is the exact reason I use them, they get the ideas, problems, and solutions all out on the table so you can plainly see the situation and arrive at solutions…

      There are times I will use templates ot similar which makes sure that I cover all the bases, i.e. when I prepare a proposal, and this helps…

      Mind mapping is what I used to create the remplate though lol!

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  6. Hi Dave!

    Yeah hey- I wasn’t expecting such a detailed and diversified web-site! Nice One! (I explored then signed up for your monthly mag)

    What got me to your site was the mind map. It’s similar to the types of maps I taught while teaching. They are useful tools as are your blogs on traffic for online marketing business’.

    Looking forward to my first e-mag from ya and I thank you wishing you much success at your endeavors.

    Take It Easy,
    Carrie B.

    1. Hi Carrie,

      I have been playing with the site most of the day making changes to it, sorry if it got in the way of your looking at the posts, etc. I want to make it look more professional, but seem to be making it look worse lol!

      This article is a little more detailed and different that the one on Wealthy Affiliate, the one on WA is a little more personal and drill down because I know the folks there,

      The idea is the same though, and yes they are so useful and have been a huge part of my life direction, in my work and on the personal side. They are effective because thsy get past all the rigidity and tap into your natural flow of thoughts….

      Thanks for signing up to the page…If you have any problems getting the magazines, please let me know, I will send them directly to you. So you are a teacher as well! Cool, let’s collaborate and do some things!

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

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