We’ve talked about mind maps before and I know it can be a daunting task for some of you out there. No worries though. I felt that it was time to give everyone another refresher course on how to map out those golden nuggets of ideas inside your head.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with mind mapping, it’s basically a process of laying out your ideas on a diagram which starts out with one goal or idea in the center. You then have to branch out from the central point by connecting it to other terms related to the main idea or goal, and then identify these terms with other words that could affect the previous item in a direct or indirect manner.
I personally find mind maps useful since it’s a very good way to map out my business campaigns, for instance. Internet marketers like me can also use it to analyse monthly performance reports, make blog posts or email content, and so on. It’s definitely a nice tool to help you plot your ideas and set confusing concepts straight for you and anyone else involved in your venture.
Before you get started on mind mapping, make sure that you are free from all forms of distractions. It’s really important to clear your mind of anything that could influence you from reaching the end goal that you have planned.
You have to be able to stay focused and objective when making your mind map. If you’re alone, take a few minutes of silence to prepare yourself. On the other hand, if you’re brainstorming with colleagues, make sure to drop any monkey business and put on your game faces so as not to get distracted.
Once you’re ready to begin, just follow these four easy steps to map out what’s in that noggin of yours:
Identify the problem – Try to identify the biggest question that prevents you from reaching your goal or find out the biggest problem behind your idea. After doing this, you can branch off and think of other sub-questions like: “What prevents me from doing this?” or “What makes this hard for me to achieve?” Asking “What makes things…” questions are good if you want to identify the best path towards your goal. It also helps you put things into perspective by taking a look at the limitations that stop you from getting things off the ground.
Identify the possible solutions – Now that you’ve identified the problem, think up of possible solutions to solve those prickly puzzles. Make sure to be realistic about them and consider what resources you have on hand that you can use to solve them. By doing this, you can also see what possible setbacks you could encounter as you try to reach your ideal solution.
Identify the key points in your map – Make sure to highlight the important milestones or key points on your map. You can use big, bold letters for main ideas to give it more emphasis, or you can also use colored lines to link key ideas. This will help you see link two or more ideas so you won’t lose your way. Also, it helps make your map look pretty.
Review your map – After making your map, step back and see how far you’ve gone. Start from the main point or idea and take a look at the different branches you’ve created from it, making sure to check if you might have missed an important point. You can also try reading the key points aloud if that will help you think better.
And that’s it! I know there seems to be a lot of identifying involved here, but that’s all there really is to making a good mind map: identifying and recognizing the most important points in your thought processes.
So go ahead and get mapping!
Andy “Sir Map-a-lot” Jenkins