Mind mapping is one of the best ways to organize your thoughts and any new information you receive. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t necessarily come with any rules, allowing people to create their own versions of it. Mind map software is great for both students who are trying to pick up new skills and teams who are trying to improve their workflow and collaboration. So let’s take a look at mind maps and what makes them so great.
What Is a Mind Map?
Basically, a mind map is a diagram. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be but it will always use words, images, colors, lines and even doodles to develop a central idea. The main purpose of a mind map is to focus thought on one idea and further expand it using related topics. Here’s a very simple example:
Evolution of Mind Maps
Diagrams have been used to display ideas for a long time. The very first example of a mind map has been traced all the way back to the 3rd century, with the Categories of Aristotle being graphically represented by Porphyry of Tyros. People also used mind maps during the 20th century but the term was first introduced by Tony Buzan.
In his mind maps, Tony starts with a central idea, before adding branches that represent the order of the ideas to come. After that, he draws a system for the smaller ideas that are related to the second ones. This is the “bare-bones” form of a mind map and is also known as the Burzam Method.
Benefits of Mind Mapping
Now that we have a bit more background on mind mapping, we’re ready to move on to the benefits. There are many, so we’ve only chosen the most important ones. Let’s go!
1. Helps with memory and retention
Mind mapping makes new lessons or concepts easier to be comprehended and memorized. That’s because of their simple diagram format that’s easier to be stored in the human memory. Mind maps allow people to learn new information in both visual and written form. On top of that, there are several studies (including one from the UK Department of Human Science) that show how mind maps help boost retention of information by 10-15%.
2. Simplifies complex ideas
We all know how tedious it is to have to go through a huge chunk of text only to reach the end of it and realize that you don’t remember a thing. That’s when a mind map comes to the rescue. This handy tool allows you to distill a complex idea into smaller chunks of easy-to-understand information. Mind maps are usually focused on keywords that further simplifies the ideas and allows for better focus on what matters.
3. Boosts engagement
When it comes to learning, another crucial factor is meaningful engagement. Sadly, some of the most popular and common learning methods (reading or listening to a podcast or a lecture) are not always that engaging. This is where a mind map is extremely helpful because it allows you to actively engage in the process of coming up with new ideas, brainstorming or connecting concepts together to reach a productive conclusion.
4. Improves productivity
This is mainly for the teams but it can go for anyone who uses a mind map. Because it cuts away the clutter and tedium of having to go through complex ideas. This will allow you to make better use of your time. Everyone who uses mind maps to study, take notes or organize a business presentation has reported that they feel more in control of their tasks, while staying creative and organized.
5. Sparks creativity
You don’t have to be a world-renowned artist to put together a mind map. Your drawing skills won’t matter because working on a mind map will boost your creativity anyway. How does that happen? Well, it’s easy, if you think about it. Mind mapping allows you to get your ideas on paper as fast as they come, even if you have inspiration or not. And after the mind map is done, you can take a break and get back to it later, with fresh and new concepts that will improve upon the initial ones.
6. It’s more flexible
A mind map is one of the most versatile and flexible ideation tools you can use. It can be used for various activities such as studying and brainstorming to project planning and ideation. If you’re a student, you can use a mind map to revise your notes and the new information you’ve acquired. If you’re a project manager, you can use mind mapping to present your ideas to your team. If you’re a content creator, you can come up with new ideas through a mind map. There are many other examples, but the main point is – a mind map is extremely flexible and adaptable.
Mind mapping is an excellent tool for anyone who’s trying to pick up a new skill, organize new information or simply come up with new ideas. The best thing about mind mapping is that there’s no way one can get it wrong – everyone has a different style of learning and working and that means no two mind maps will look the same.
What about you? Have you used mind mapping so far? What was your experience? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and if you liked this article, give it a share!