Friday, June 5, 2009

Creating your first Mind Map

. Friday, June 5, 2009

by Rose Angell

In this article I am going to help you through the simple instructions on creating your first mind map. Firstly you 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 organising a party. In this case we are going to mind map going on holiday. The process of mind mapping can be split into 3 levels.

Take a sheet of plain paper and some coloured 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 e.g. 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 its self more naturally and without being maintained in the boundaries found in linear note making.

The next step entails thick colourful branches radiating out from the central holiday image. These branches will represent your main stream 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 colourful capitals your main thoughts using a single key word. Use your imagination. It is important to use colours as they are exciting to your brain; they add energy to your mind map and enhance your creative thinking. To get your thought flowing you may need to ask yourself a few questions i.e. taking our example of holidays you may ask 'where will I be going' therefore you may decide that 'DESTINATION' is an appropriate 'key word' label for your first branch. In this example mind map will label are branches with the key terms 'Budget', 'booking', 'type', 'equipment', 'clothes', and 'shutdown'. The two main principles that make mind mapping so effective are imagination and association. The brains thinking processes is naturally image filled so in order to incorporate this natural process it is important to include images and pictures on your mind map as 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. Not only will it 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.

Finally, use association to expand your mind map to the final stage. Look at the key words on the main branches to achieve this. These key words should spark of further ideas. Draw smaller branches that stem from the key words 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 'budget' may be 'currency', 'overall' and 'daily'. The sub-branch may then trigger mores thought and ideas associated with the key word 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. File the map safely so you can return to it in the future, adding more thought 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 organised, creative and effective way.

Rose Angell joined the Buzan Online team after graduating in Psychology in 2007. Buzan Online was founded by Tony Buzan in 2006 and has since become a key part of the Buzan Organisation. Buzan Online recently launched the first offical Mind Mapping software, imindmap: the only software to utilise the true principles of Mind Mapping and duplicate the brains non-linear thinking process. To learn more visit

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