How to use a mind map

In my previous post I covered some mind map basics, but now I want to share in a bit more detail how I do it.

I don’t think there’s an actual ‘rule’ how it should look, what information it should or shouldn’t contain, and where and how you do it, so therefore, I have two most favorite ways when I innovate and throw random ideas on the table, and they are : post-it notes and A4 (word) document. Some people like to draw, use images, do it digitally and so on, and it’s good when you find what works best for you, as I found ones that work for me. That’s only a plus! But let me now explain why I like my ways ‘the best’.

Post-it notes

Today I went crazy and decided to use one of the walls in our apartment to start covering with post-it notes (previously I used small ones on A2 paper).

I got different colors, shapes and sizes of post-it notes and used my daughters chalk to write the main subject in the middle of the wall. Main topics I wrote on big post-it notes and additional information always to smaller ones. During the day I kept adding new things in and taking something out.


The wall will not stay covered in these notes for long, but they need to stay there for couple of days, as you never know when a good idea pops into your head – then it’s easy to add them in.

When I will attack the mind map, and start ‘using’ it, that’s when the post-it notes come in handy.

You can stick them to your laptop when writing about whatever is written on them, add them to the pages of a book that might contain valuable information to the stick-note content and when ever you move forward with your project, the wall becomes clearer and clearer.


As mentioned above, you can always take invaluable post-it notes off, making your mind map more beneficial or changing the words to more effective ones.

A4 (word) document

In this case, I mostly mean A4 document located in cloud storage like google drive or equivalent, but as well as just one page document in any of your favorite programs.

Sorry I don’t have personal photos to share, but I will try to explain why I like to use this way of mind mapping.

  • First of all, you’re already more likely to use same program when writing something about your topic, so for any good words or ideas you can always copy paste into your report.
  • Secondly, if you’re working in a team, you can share the ideas in one place.
  • Third, if document is placed in cloud service, then you can always update it at any time anywhere, or get back to it when needed.
  • Last but not least, it will more likely look more organised and easier to read when it’s written on a computer. You can add links to support your keywords, photos and other documents. If you have a chance to use a printer, you can always print it out and add later on more information by hand.

Last thought

Try not to concentrate too much on making it look good, as the mind map should only be there in the background to support your project. Also try not to use too much time on it, therefore having it on hand when needed is relatively good, as a good idea might pop-in when going to sleep or while taking a shower [I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets creative and full of ideas when it’s not the time to think of work].

 

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