Creating Your First Mind Map

Creating Your First Mind Map

In this article I am going to help guide you through the simple instructions on creating your first Mind Map.

Decide on the Topic

Firstly you need to decide on the topic in question, it is important to remember that there is no limit to what you can Mind Map, ranging from university lecture notes, preparing a speech / presentation or simply in organizing a party. In this case we are going to Mind Map going on holiday. The process of Mind Mapping can be split into three levels.

1. Getting Started…

Take a sheet of plain paper and some colored pens. Turn the page so it is in landscape position. In the centre of the page draw an image that personally represents being on holiday for you. Now label this image, for example, the destination of your holiday or simply ‘My holiday'. Always start in the middle of the page as this gives your thoughts freedom to spread out in all directions and for your brain to express itself more naturally and without being maintained in the boundaries found in linear note making.

2. Expanding Your Thinking

The next step entails thick colorful branches radiating out from the central holiday image. These branches will represent your mainstream of thoughts. There is no limit to the number of main branches but the recommendation is approximately five or six. On each branch clearly state in bold colorful capitals your main thoughts using a single keyword. Use your imagination.

It is important to use colors as they are exciting to your brain; they add energy to your Mind Map and enhance your creative thinking. To get your thoughts flowing you may need to ask yourself a few questions. For example, using our current Mind Map of holidays you may ask ‘where will I be going?', therefore you may decide that ‘WHERE' is an appropriate key word label for your first branch. We have also created other branches with the key terms ‘When', ‘Transport', ‘Friends', and ‘Accomodation'.

The two main principles that make Mind Mapping so effective are imagination and association. The brain's thinking processes are naturally image-filled so in order to incorporate this natural process it is important to include images and pictures on your Mind Map. As the saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words'. Not only will images save you time in comparison to note taking but it is also easier to remember as they are interesting and help to keep your mind focused on the task.

3. Ideas, Thoughts & Associations

Finally, you can use association to expand your Mind Map to the final stage. Look at the keywords on the main branches to achieve this. These keywords should spark of further ideas. Draw smaller branches that stem from the keywords to accommodate the associations you make. The number of sub-branches is limitless, it is dependent upon the number of ideas that you can think of. For example, the sub-branches of ‘Where' may be ‘Countryside', ‘Mountains' and ‘Sea'. The sub-branch may then trigger more thoughts and ideas associated with the keyword of that branch leading to the development of the next level of sub-branches. Continue this process until all your thoughts and ideas are on your Mind Map.

Study Tool

File the map safely so you can return to it in the future, adding more thoughts and ideas to it as they come to you or simply so you can use it as a revision or study tool. At the end of the task you should have successfully produced a map that represents your thoughts in an organized, creative and effective way.

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