A mind map looks a lot like a spider web, a root system or the branches of a tree. Like these marvels of nature, a mind map has a central point. The center of the mind map is the subject that you want to map and it is often represented by a picture or symbol. Use no more than three words to name it. Pick a name that’s meaningful to you. In some cases, it might even be you!
From there, you describe the subject by listing its major characteristics around it. You connect the characteristics back to the center using lines. Try to describe each one in less than three words. Each major characteristic can be subdivided further into minor characteristics, features or attributes. Again, try to limit yourself to three words to describe each minor characteristic.
Let’s look at how you would create the mind map shown above.
How do I create a mind map?
Pen and paper
The simplest way to create a mind map is to take a piece of paper and a pen or a pencil.
First, put your subject at the center of the mind map. Write a description of your mind map’s subject at the center and then draw a big circle around it.
For our example (which we did create using software just to make it look better), we’re going to create a mind map about a vacation that we’d like to take. The subject is vacation.
Next, write the major characteristics of the idea around the circle at the center of the map. Use lines to connect them back to the center.
In this example, there are five main things (major characteristics) about the vacation that we want to plan. Each one will be a branch of the mind map.
Finally, for each major characteristic , list its minor characteristics, points or attributes. Use lines to connect each major characteristic to its minor characteristics.
In our example, we’ve taken each major category from the mind map:
We’ve found 4 – 6 important minor characteristics for each category and we’ve added them to the mind map.
Continue this process until the map feels complete then take a look.
Oh no! After looking at this mind map, we realize that we haven’t thought about things like travel insurance and house sitting? And what about the mail and other things to worry about?
This is perfectly normal. The time and pressure constraints that you face each day make it very easy to miss important things. The map helps you focus on distractions.
It’s not surprising that we left something important off the mind map! But we can use what we have to spot the holes.
Fortunately, it’s really easy to make changes to a mind map. We’ll create a new category called WHILE AWAY and add it to the mind map:
Keep adding (or removing or changing) the parts of the mind map until you feel satisfied that you’ve captured everything.
And if you haven’t… don’t worry! You can always go back and change it.
And there it is – a mind map!
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