Using a Mind Map to Define Your Idea or Project
A mind map is a great way to clear your thinking on any subject or project. Some people use the technique as a “brain dump” which helps a lot with overwhelm when you have too many ideas floating around in your head. It is a visual technique which helps get past a lot of the blocks our brains set for us. It is also a great way to take notes in any class! This is an example of how a mind map works. The instructor is using a tablet but all you need is a big piece of paper and some fresh markers!
From the Wikipedia on Mind Mapping:
Tony Buzan suggests the following guidelines for creating mind maps:
- Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
- Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.
- Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
- Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
- The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The lines become thinner as they radiate out from the center.
- Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
- Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also for encoding or grouping.
- Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
- Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
- Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy or outlines to embrace your branches.
You will need:
- paper – preferably large enough that you can go wild.
- markers and maybe pencils
- a quite block of time to focus without distraction
Mindmapping programs are available. Some are open source, some will cost you. In general – pens and paper works great! The goal though is not to get fussy. The goal is to capture your thoughts and ideas fast!
You do NOT need to be a skilled artist to create mind maps but some folks have made a career of offering this service. Be inspired but don’t worry if yours is more plain or basic!