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What Are Mind Maps and How Do You Use Them?

What Are Mind Maps and How Do You Use Them?

What are mind maps?

A mind map is a diagram used to connect ideas and arrange information visually. Usually, a mind map has a main idea written or drawn in the center, with other ideas radiating from the central node. Ideas are organized hierarchically and connected. Because it is visual, it is easy to see how various concepts or details relate to one another in a given theme or subject. Unlike regular lists, mind maps work in a non-linear fashion and may combine words with images. You may find it easier and more fun to use mind maps than boring lists.

Mind Map

How do you make a mind map?

A mind map is remarkably intuitive and easy to create. Start with a central idea in the center, and then branch off to related ideas. From there, you can add more ideas. Each step away from the main idea is like another level or sub-category. You can be as broad or as general as you want with a mind map. And your connections do not have to follow a strict hierarchy. Ideas can connect in different ways, like in a brainstorming session. The possibilities are limited only by what you can fit into the mind map. You can use a dot grid notebook, pen, and paper to create mind maps.

What use are mind maps?

Mind maps can be used to investigate or explore almost any idea or topic. It can also serve as a note-taking tool for studies. For business, a mind map is a great way to brainstorm ideas. You can use mind maps to set goals, plan a book, layout a website, solve problems, or develop new product ideas.

Tips for using mind maps.

Start with the main idea in the center. Work your way outwards, as if radiating thoughts from a single point of origin.

Use lines to connect ideas.

Keep it simple. Use single keywords or simple phrases.

Use a mix of color, imagery, and text.

Write and draw freely. Let your intuition guide you.

Feel free to start over if you need to.

Keep the hierarchy consistent.

Take inspiration from the Web if you have trouble making your mind maps. Search online.

Mind mapping is a simple yet excellent tool. It is useful whether you are studying a college course, setting long-term life goals, or outlining a novel. How do you like to organize and explore ideas?

Learn more about mind maps. Check out this page at Oregon State University:  is.oregonstate.edu/tac/mind-mapping or visit the mind map entry at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map

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