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How To Mind Map: Organizing Your Brainstorming Sessions

By Edited Jan 7, 2014 4 6

Have you ever studied a subject or brainstormed an idea, only to find yourself with pages of information, but no clear view of how it fits together? This is where Mind Mapping can help you. Mind Mapping is a useful technique that helps you learn more effectively, improves the way that you record information, and supports and enhances creative problem solving.

By using Mind Maps, you can quickly find and understand the structure of a subject. You can see the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes.

A mind map is similar to a categorized lists, but they're more visual, mapping out the connections being made. If you like pictures more than words, color-coded lists, and prefer to "see" what you're talking about, mind mapping is for you.

Here is an example of a what you can do with a mind map:

Mind map

Of course, it doesn't have to be that involved. Most mind maps look more like this:

mind map template

 A pretty simple yet beautiful way to brainstorm ideas. The rules on how to approach anything seem like a good place to start when one wants to teach something so without further ado, here are the rules to brainstorm ideas through mind mapping.


Rules For Mind Mapping

There are no rules.

Think of mind mapping as creating art. Are there any rules to being creative? No, just guidelines. You can write, draw or doodle your mind map. Make it fancy or keep it simple. Use color or make it black and white. Use a computer, paper and pen, colored pencils, canvas, or mind mapping software. Just get your ideas outside of your head into a visual format and make sure every idea is connected to a previous idea with a line.

How To Make Your Own Mind Map.

Write Your Brainstorming Topic In The Center Of Your Page.

 You may brainstorm any topic but if you begin with a broad topic, you will also brainstorm on a broad range. To get specific content related subjects, you want to narrow your topic before mind mapping. Draw lines radiating out from that keyword. At the end of each, write an idea related to the keyword. They may be subtopics or categories of related ideas. Or they may simply be ideas that connect in some way to your keyword.

Draw Lines Radiating Out From These Secondary Ideas.

At the end of each, write a related idea or subtopic. Continue connecting topics and subtopics until you run out of ideas. Include everything you can think of related to your keyword. Don't worry too much about being neat. This is a brainstorming session, filling your page with ideas, not a neatest session. Think of this as a rough draft to a greater paper on you keyword.

Review Your Mind Map To Come Up With New Content Ideas.

Review your ideas to find interesting topics for content, products or sevices. while you review your list, you might notice that some ideas will be kind of dull but others could show a lot of promise. Highlight the ones that show promise, they have a unique angle or are interesting, and mark off the ones that don't. Be sure to consider unique combinations of ideas, as well as questions raised by your mind map.

Now here comes a very important part of mind mapping and organizing your brainstorming sessions.

Walk Away

You read it right!

Brainstorming sessions take a lot of power juice from our brain. Is as if we only had a certain amount of creativity stored in a jar upstairs and once we drain it, we would have to wait until it fills again. Let the brainstorming session marinate in your head subconsciously while you relax or go do some other task. After you have been away for long enough, two to four hours, come back to it. I give it half a day ( about 12 hours) before I come back to my mind maps. The point is to come back with fresh eyes and a new jar full of creativity.

Come Back And Create New Ideas From The Map

New ideas sometimes come out of combining other ideas. As you review your map, look for new ideas but also look for ways to combine them into new interesting topics. Add them to your map and circle them. Lastly, write questions and comments that come out while reviewing you mind map. Show it to others to see what questions and comments come out and write them down to one side. This can potentially give you new ideas or supplement the ones that are already mapped out.

Rewrite Your Mind Map

While mind maps are good brainstorming tool, they also are good reminders of the overall picture. I like creating a neat version of the map and placing it somewhere I see it often. It has improved my efficiency and increase my productivity because I'm constantly aware of what I have to get done. There is plenty of cool mind mapping software that you can find. Now, while I have provided some mind mapping software that I personally like below, I don't want people investing $50 if they can't afford it. I want you to have all the tools you need so I also found a cheaper ($10) version of the software and a super cheap (free) software for you to start mind mapping right away.

The free software is called Freemind. This is not an affiliate link, so I will not make any money on it. I  don't want you to  have any excuse  for why you cannot start organizing your ideas and mind mapping your next, maybe greatest, project.

MindMaple Pro (Lifetime License) [Download]
Amazon Price: $49.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 7, 2014)
Aside from being one of the most inexpensive mind mapping utilities on the market, this software has been thoroughly developed with input from experienced users in both the creative and education sectors. The software provides users with a potent set of features that aid in brainstorming, note taking, organizing, and managing projects, while stimulating both sides of the brain through the use of visual content.
MindMaple Pro (1-Year License) [Download]
Amazon Price: $9.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 7, 2014)


Aug 22, 2013 2:21pm
Nice article. I use freemind a lot, and I'm glad you put both a free option and a commercial one for those who want to invest in better software.
Sep 3, 2013 12:04pm
Thanks for taking the time to read it ActionManBryan. Of course I have to provide both; I didn't want people's self rationalizations (resistance) to get in their way of starting to organize their ideas/projects. :)
Also, I'm trying to get back into chess so I'll be checking your articles soon.
Aug 22, 2013 4:11pm
Thanks for the article, I've been using Freemind for years, it's a great program.

Sometimes though I will use Mindomo and/or Xmind depending on who I am collaborating with. Nice feature with those 2 programs are you can create a more "structured" map (less freeform, which can get cluttered on large maps).

Also check out biggerplate.com for their mind map library of already built maps
Sep 3, 2013 12:09pm
Thanks Chuckvtt.
"bend but don't break" as the saying goes. Nothing is written in stone so we have to be flexible and use the right tool for the job.
Also, I'm working on a piece for my website about "frame of mind" and view points that is related to your article about being optimistic. Hope you check it out when I upload it. Good article by the way. I'll be sure to comment on it :)
Aug 28, 2013 6:03am
This is really cool, thanks!
Sep 3, 2013 12:19pm
Thanks Jssaggie12,
I see you've done a lot of articles in a short time. You are motivating me to kick it up a notch! :)
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