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How do Mind Maps work?

BillyBuzz's picture

I have heard of Mind Maps and Mind Mapping before, but am not sure how they work, and why they are better than my normal notes.  How do they work to help me with my studies and planning activities?

Bill Jarrard's picture

Thanks for your question,

Thanks for your question, which is a great one that we hear a lot.   Many people have heard of Mind Maps, but unfortunately what they have been exposed to are techniques that don't properly follow Tony Buzan's approach.  We see a lot of Bubble maps, Concept maps, life maps and other graphic organising methods being labelled as Mind Maps, but these are not the same thing.  In some cases it is a result of people initially seeing Tony's approach, but not following it effectively, but more often we find that some people are enthusiastically promoting Mind Maps, and while we like that, they've been given incorrect instruction and can confuse others.

So the first thing is to know that Tony Buzan created the term Mind MapĀ® in the 1970s, having studied the great geniuses of the past and present and seeing how they organised information to promote creativity and memory.  So we figure if this approach worked well for the great brains, that's a pretty good reason to use Mind Maps. 

Mind Maps are usually better than linear notes because they work more like the brain works, which is radiant, associative, multi-directional and full of colour and imagery.  Mind Maps allow information to be captured as it is received, which is non-linear, but allows it to be organised in a way that is totally logical.  Some people think Mind Maps are messy and unstructured, but that is not the case.  They have a beautiful logic and structure to them, it just isn't linear.

There is lots more we can tell you, but the best thing to do is to get started.  Download the How to Mind Map worksheet in this module, and read it all through and just get started.  It has a full explanation how to Mind Map effectively, and a quick start guide.  As you do each Mind Map, compare what you've done back to the 'How to Mind Map' Mind Map and other maps on this modules and in the Resources areas, and make a couple of improvements to your next map.  

Don't worry about getting things perfect, or your neatness, or ability to draw etc.  Use colour and let your thinking flow, and soon you'll be Mind Mapping all the time.  Have fun.   

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