June 1, 2018

The Unique Ability of Mind Maps

Yogin Sabnis
VSK Financial Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd.

 The Unique Ability of Mind Maps


Yogin 001

I was attracted to Mind Maps because of their unique ability to communicate instantly and better. What’s more, they leave a lasting impression and are far easier to recollect and understand than verbose written text.

What is a Mind Map?

A Mind Map is a one-page, colorful image-rich summary of… Anything.

There is a central image at the center of the page and it depicts the main topic or the title of the subject, which is being mind mapped. Multiple branches emanate from this central image and they represent the main points of the topic. Each branch has a keyword, which labels those points.

Each main point is further elaborated through sub-branches and sub-sub-branches of these main branches.

The key words are then embellished by symbols and images, which makes them beautiful and hence, easy to remember.

What can Mind Maps do for you?

1. Boost your memory: Mind Maps do not have long sentences. Sometimes they may have a phrase. But mostly, they contain keywords, which are easier to remember, and these keywords are linked through branches. It is a known fact that the trick to ‘remembering better’ is associating what you want to remember with a vivid image. The combination of keywords, colorful branches, and appropriate images makes it very memorable.

You have heard the adage that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This is the exact principle at work here.

2. Foster Creativity: Contrary to what most people believe, creativity is a learned skill. I was also a victim of this belief till I learned how to Mind Map. The more you practice with Mind Maps the more creative you become.

If you ever get stuck while writing an article, planning a project, developing an idea… try Mind Mapping. This open layout gives you a bird’s eye view, so to say, and helps you make hitherto unnoticed connections between 2 different thoughts. It can lead to the creation of a multitude of thoughts, ideas and get your creativity flowing.  

What can you do with Mind Maps?

A Mind Mapper knows that the use of Mind Maps as a tool is limited only by his imagination. Here are very few examples of the practical uses of Mind Maps.

For Better Retention of Information

1. Note taking: Whether you are in a classroom lecture or listening to a speaker at a conference, taking notes is a tedious task. Mostly, you are so intent on taking notes that you hardly assimilate what is being said. This is because you have to write in longhand. Besides, you are writing verbatim whatever is being said.

Do you know that only 10% of what you write down are keywords? The rest is just fluff to make up the phrases and sentences. You only need to capture these keywords. But capturing them and just jotting them down will not bring clarity.

Now, let’s try Mind Mapping. The topic is the central image. As the presenter speaks you listen to him and try to understand what he is saying. If you listen carefully, it is not difficult to identify keywords, which become your branches. These keywords will later trigger your memory for an explanation on that point. Sometimes the speaker is not structured in his speech and his associative thought process takes him off on a tangent to another totally different point. This becomes a dilemma for the linear note taker. As a Mind Mapper, you are not perturbed. You simply draw another branch to make a note of it.  Even with all this simplification, the Mind Mapper may miss something. All he has to do is create a sub-branch on that topic/subtopic and, during the Q&A session, ask the speaker to elaborate on that point. Notes taken in this manner are easy to revise and hence, also easy to remember.

2. Summarizing lectures/articles/books: This is similar to taking notes during a lecture but it is easier because you have the written text in front of you and you are not bound by time.

Of course Mind Mapping a book takes time but here’s the way to move faster. Simply adhere to the way the book is organized in the index and treat the chapter themes as the main branches. Then, capture each chapter in a few keywords, which could become sub-branches and so on. This makes it easier. Attach a few pictures and appropriate symbols for better effect.

Imagine capturing a whole book in a One Page Mind Map. It is as if you have enabled re-reading of the entire book in a couple of minutes.

3. To Do List: This is the easiest Mind Map to do and it being a daily task will keep you in practice with Mind Mapping.

Every morning you have a general sense of what you need to do. Capture that on a Mind Map. Create separate branches for meetings, phone calls, emails and action to be taken. So at a glance, you have your entire day’s schedule.

For Problem-solving

1. Brainstorming/ideating: We all know that in a brainstorming session all the ideas that come up are written down without prejudging. After the “brain dump” is complete, you are left with a jumble of ideas and you will see some connection between some of them. Creating a Mind Map at this juncture can clarify your thought process a lot. The added advantage is that everybody gets to see the same picture as you and hence, communicating the idea becomes easier.

2. Project Planning and Management: A project involves a lot of people from multiple departments and even outsiders in the form of vendors and suppliers. A Mind Map will not only enable you to view the entire project on one page, but a detailed Mind Map can even depict individual responsibilities of diverse people and the progress of the project through symbols or color coding.

3. Planning and making presentations: If you have ever made a presentation, you know there are 2 parts to it. First is the planning and preparation of the presentation and second is the delivering of the presentation.

The first part is akin to brainstorming; the only difference being that it is only you who are downloading ideas. Drawing a Mind Map to capture the ideas enables you to create a sequence and a flow to the presentation. You can add symbols and images to add effect.

So now you are ready to present your presentation. With your Mind Map in hand, you do not need notes. A glance at the keywords triggers your memory on the subject and you can talk extempore, without missing any point.

Some other uses

1. Event Planning: The central topic is the event and the various branches depict choice of venue, menu, list of guests, etc.

2. Teach your kids: Children are the best students of Mind Mapping. For them, it is fun and gives them a great outlet to unleash their creativity. If they are taught using Mind Maps it has been found that not only do they enjoy it, or perhaps because of it, they remember the lessons much better. If all their notes are in Mind Map form, revision is much easier and faster.

MindMap Book

3.Mind Map your Personal Financial Plan: If you are tracking your finances regularly you are being conscientious, but I am sure you find the task boring. Create a Mind Map which depicts your monthly savings, net worth and present market values of your portfolio. The Mind Map can also depict your financial goals and interconnecting arrows can connect the goals to the investments which are earmarked for them.

This article was published in Yogin’s book “Financial Planning, Money Maps & More” and is republished with permission from the author.



Articles published by the same author on similar lines:

Creating Content? Never Run Out of Ideas…
Can you read an entire book in an hour? How to read a Mind Map?

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