7 Reasons Why You Should Try Mind Mapping

7 Reasons Why You Should Try Mind MappingI first learned to use mind mapping during one of David Allen’s Time Design Seminars. This was one of David’s original seminars before they were called Getting Things Done. During these seminars, David taught mind mapping as a tool to help create projects.

You might have seen or heard about mind mapping in the past, or you might be asking, “What is mind mapping?” According to Wikipedia,

A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added.

Over the years, I have found that mind mapping has resulted a significant increase in my effectiveness, and I recommend that you consider trying it for seven reasons:

  1. Flexibility - Nothing else lets you manipulate ideas, knowledge, and information with as much freedom and flexibility as mind mapping. 

  2. ProductivityMind mapping can help improve your productivity at work, at home, and at school. Some studies reportedly show that mind mapping can increase your productivity by an average of 20%, and I know that mind mapping has increased my productivity

  3. Creativity - Mind mapping can help you become more creative. This happens because you mind begins to see the visual connections between what appear to be unrealted pieces of information. You brain will work hard to help you fill in the gaps.

  4. ClarityAs you quickly map your ideas on paper, and rearrage them into categories, they will begin to make more sense. Your completed mind map will provide you a clear picture of the problem that you are trying to  solve.

  5. Decision MakingIn addition to helping you develop a clear picture of the problem that you are trying to solve, mind mapping can help you to brainstorm potential solutions to your problem, and make the best decision based on the information available.

  6. OrganizationMind mapping will help you get better organized. You can use mind maps to help you organize personal projects, work projects, and even organize your notes if you are a student. Once you have competed your mind map, you can transfer it into a meeting agenda, to-do list, or a project plan.

  7. Project PlanningMind mapping helps you to identify and prioritize project tasks. As you develop a mind map for your project, you will begin to see both the ‘Big Picture’ and the details required to complete your project.

I use mind mapping as a front-end process for my Getting Things Done (GTD) system. I also use it to help me plan projects and outline my blog posts.

If your not currently using mind mapping, I highly recommend that you try it. There are many mind mapping software programs available, unfortunately I can’t recommend any specific one because I stick to using a pencil and a piece of paper. If you know of a good one, please recommend it to us in the comments below.

Comment below if you know a good mind mapping software product that you can recommend to us. Also, comment on any good and bad experiences that you have had with mind mapping.

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  • http://www.gregorywoodard.com/ Gregory Woodard

    I just started mind-mapping. I am using Simple Mind since they are on the Windows & Android platforms.
    What software do you use?

  • sespring

    Thanks Greg!

  • Trish Feehan

    I’ve used My Thoughts. It’s good, but… Very rarely do I ditch the Mac. However, for mind mapping, I prefer to use a flip chart pad and markers. It’s more fluid, natural. I play with color. Mind mapping’s a great technique for generating ideas, seeing how the pieces fit together.

    • sespring

      Thanks Trish. I prefer to draw things too. I think that the act of drawing keeps the natural flow going and helps me generate more ideas;

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    I’ve used mind mapping (But have never used that name) to think through the topics I was going to write about. My driving time allows me to think, plan, and reflect so when I get time to write the post or work on a project I’d already have a head start. Great thoughts here!

    • sespring

      Thanks Dan. I think that our driving time is a great time to think and plan. Another productive thing that we can do during our drive time is listen to Podcasts. There are several great Podcasts available, and I use them to learn while I drive. Maybe I will write a post on my 7 favorite Podcasts.

  • Brian

    Point number 7 is the key reason why I use Mind Mapping in day to day life. I use a tool called MindGenius to capture all the requirements and map out the scope of my projects. It is handy to always come back to the visual layout as it’s it easy to see progress or where perhaps the project is starting to stutter. Nice list!

  • sespring

    Brian, thanks for your comment. I would love to know more about MindGenius and add it to my list of apps to check out.

  • liamhughes

    Hi Steve,
    Really nice piece, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in terms of the 7 reasons you explain here. In our experience, these are exactly the contexts/benefits that our members reveal when discussing their use of mind mapping.

    You and your readers might be interested in our free online mind map library and community, which can be found at http://www.Biggerplate.com - here you can see lots of examples of how other people are using mind maps, and it very much backs up the contexts that you outline above!

    Best wishes

    Liam Hughes
    Founder: Biggerplate

    • sespring

      Thanks for your comment Liam. I appreciate the feedback. Thanks for providing a link to the Biggerplate.com site. There seem to be a lot of examples of how to use mind maps that our community can use to improve their productivity.

  • Gwen

    I just wanted to suggest a great Mind Mapping software that I have used for years called Free Mind and here is the link http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page I have used others but this is the best and easiest to use. I see also that someone else suggested the Biggerplate website which is good as well.

    • sespring

      Thanks Gwen. I will take a look at Free Mind when I get a chance.

  • kentsanders

    Steve, thanks for this helpful article. I haven’t done a lot of mind mapping in the strict sense, but am going to start. I normally like to use a big dry-erase board to plot out ideas visually.

    • sespring

      Thanks for stopping by Kent. I am glad that you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. We should catch up soon.

      • kentsanders

        Absolutely! Would love to.