Normal linear note taking and writing will
put you into a semi-hypnotic trance,
while mind mapping will greatly enhance
your left and right brain cognitive skills

The Mind Map Book, Buzan and Buzan

Mind mapping is a simple, effective, and highly visual way of getting ideas together. It involves visually linking ideas, generally on paper, or using software. Rather than using lists, tables, or charts, it allows for a less structured, but more complex linking process. The heritage of such visual mapping of ideas goes at least as far back to the Greek philosopher Porphyry of Tyre (c.234-c.305). Popularised by Tony Buzan in the 1970s, and still going strong today, it boasts a long history.

Mind maps are a great way to associate ideas, to go off at a tangent, but not lose moments of clarity. They are also a great way of focussing on how to get to your big idea by identifying pathways to achieving them.

You can also ensure that when you have a flurry of bright ideas they don’t distract you. Simply note them on a mind map, but stay on track if they are a diversion, not a route to your main objective.

There are many free mapping programs available for PC or Mac, and for smartphones. They have the advantage over pen and paper in that they can be added to, and edited, without lots of crossings out and scribbles. But, if you are nowhere near technology and armed with just a pen and a used envelope, go for it anyway. The act of writing and scribbling out produces pictures that you brain may remember better. You can always use technology later to tidy it up. The important thing is to get those ideas out of your head and into some sort of order. You may well find that a single mind map then demands multiple smaller, more comprehensive, mind maps to work through sub-ideas in more detail.

It’s amazing how a mind map can open up your brain very quickly to solve problems and explore issues. They can sometimes be difficult to explain to other people, as they are formed by your sense of logic and association of thought. So, don’t be put off if other people look at your mind map and look thoroughly confused.

Try this exercise:

For more information:

Build Your Own Idea Factory

This creativity tip comes from Build Your Own Idea Factory: 68 ways to boost your creativity and get inspired by David Norrington

Please comment below if you found this useful – and post examples!

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