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If you want to learn how to make a mind map you’re in the right place. But hold your horses, first let’s put some groundwork in place. The concept of mind mapping has been around for a while, but it still is a relatively new thing, and not many people are aware of it.
Although the history of mind mapping is not that important at this point, what is important is how mind mapping can help you in your everyday tasks and responsibilities.
Knowing how to make a mind map may be a really valuable skill to have. For me, it’s key for many things I’m involved with on a daily basis.
In short, mind mapping is a concept of visualizing things that are going on in your mind, either on a piece of paper or on a computer screen. It’s a concept of taking your thoughts and giving them a visual form that reflects their organization inside your mind. This may sound serious, but in reality it’s just a great way of creating a clear and understandable record of your ideas on a given topic.
You know what, I’m not the brightest expert in mind mapping so let me just quickly share the stage with Tony Buzan – the inventor of modern mind mapping. Here’s a video explaining all the why’s and how’s.
What is mind mapping
Just to recap, the benefits of mind mapping:
- It creates a visual representation of your thoughts in a clear and easily understandable form.
- It gives you clarity and an opportunity to take a look at your ideas as a whole from a bird’s eye view.
- It lets you organize your thoughts to form a complete structure, where you can quickly point out the information that’s missing or incomplete – something very difficult to do solely in your mind.
- It gives you a possibility to create a detailed plan of even the most complex projects, thought processes and activities.
How mind mapping helps entrepreneurs and online business designers
To be perfectly honest, mind mapping can help everyone, not only entrepreneurs or online business people. But that’s just a side note.
And one more thing, if it wasn’t for mind mapping I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything significant in my line of work. For me, it really is THAT important. The day when I found out how to make a mind map was the day when everything’s changed.
Mind mapping is great for all kinds of planning and keeping up with the progress. This makes it a manager’s ultimate secret.
I know that you can relate to this. As a website owner you’re dealing with lots of different activities, ranging from creating the main strategy to keeping up with specific articles getting published on other sites around the internet, and everything in between.
Keeping your hand on the pulse at all times is virtually impossible without any kind of system. The human conscious mind simply doesn’t have enoughto deal with hundreds different sources of incoming data. Not even mentioning all the personal stuff we have to take care of every day.
All this tasks, tactics, and strategies can be easily put in a mind map. Some online business and website related areas (perfect) for mind mapping are:
- Creating a grand plan of action.
- Setting goals.
- Crafting strategies to achieve the goals.
- Defining tactics for each strategy and then separating tasks that are a part of a given tactic.
- Keeping track of the progress of what has already been done and what needs to be done next.
- Brainstorming new ideas.
- Solving problems.
- Creating multilevel checklists.
- Creating an SEO graph – mapping out all elements and tasks for your site’s SEO.
- Creating frameworks and outlines.
- Taking notes – Buzan (truthfully) claims that mind mapping is a superior note taking method. This is due to its focus on the freedom of though representation – you don’t have to use bullet points or any from-top-to-bottom type of organization, which essentially isn’t how your brain works.
I could probably continue with this list on and on, but I’m sure you get the point by now. Mind mapping can be used for virtually any aspect of running a website or an online business.
Mind mapping is GTD friendly
This is yet another great thing about it. If you’re using GTD as your everyday time and work management methodology then you’re going to love mind mapping.
Many GTD elements such as: next actions lists, project lists, waiting-for lists, reference files, etc. can be kept in a mind map form. In my opinion, that way they become even more effective than before.
Where to start with mind mapping
The first step is deciding what form of mind mapping you want to implement. You can go either with a traditional pen and paper approach or something a little more modern – computer software.
The actual piece of software proposed by Tony Buzan himself is called iMindMap. There are a couple of versions ranging from a free one to one called the “ultimate”. You can start with the free one and see if it’s enough for you.
Note. When you download the free version you get a 7 day trial of the Ultimate. This simply means that after the initial 7 days most of the functions vanish.
That being said, I actually prefer other piece of software to iMindMap.
The one I’m talking about is free (forever), easy to use, and consumes very little computer resources. It’s called FreeMind.
This tool is really intuitive. You don’t actually have to learn how to make a mind map because most likely you will get it right at the first go. Check this video out for a quick usage tutorial:
I highly encourage you to give it a shot, create a couple of mind maps and see how much you enjoy it. I hope it’ll make your work easier just like it did for me.
How to make a mind map – your first attempt
- Use the main idea as the central element of the mind map.
- Create a number of branches to represent the main, highest level elements of the idea.
- Each branch can have other branches to further dissect the idea, i.e. “twigs”.
- The whole mind map has to create a complete vision of “something” (your main idea).
To give you some ideas here’s a number of cool examples of various mind maps, not only business related (those were probably crafted by hand, not in FreeMind for sure); each link points to Flickr:
Feel free to share your own ideas and opinions about mind mapping. Are you using it in your work? Or maybe to keep track with personal projects(?) Speak up.