Enhance your brain power with mind mapping techniques

Mind mapping is a powerful technique for thinking on paper. It can help you greatly in such tasks as

  • goal setting (goal mind mapping)
  • project planning
  • organizing information for decision making
  • studying new subjects or preparing for an exam
  • preparing an oral presentation or writing an article or report
  • note taking
  • brainstorming
and many other “think on paper” types of situations.

Special role in the development and popularization of mind mapping techniques for unleashing mind powers belongs to Tony Buzan, who is one of the leading authorities on learning techniques.

The rationale for the use of mind maps or concept maps comes from a deeper understanding of how the brain works with information. Unlike a traditional computer, your brain does not process or organize information in linear sequences. Instead it naturally operates with networks of associations between various ideas. If you present information as a visual network, rather than a linear list, you will greatly enhance you mind powers to digest that information. You will also stimulate synergy of the left and right sides of your brain.

To create a concept map you can proceed in the following way. Take a sheet of paper and put in the middle the central concept of your topic of focus. For example, in the case of goal setting it can be the overall direction of your goals. Ideally, represent that concept as a combination of words and an image. Then, starting from that central concept, draw lines to the sides to represent the main related sub categories for your mind map topic. Take one main keyword that you associate with each sub topic and print it in capitals over one of those lines. When you are done with those sub categories, continue the process of branching out lower level sub concepts. Draw lines from the end of each line from the previous stage and, as before, mark those lines with the main keywords that distinguish those concepts.

One variation of the technique is to put sub concepts as a network of bubbles connected with lines. The keywords are placed inside the bubbles rather than on the lines.

You can enhance the visual power of your mind maps by putting images near some of the concepts. You can also benefit from using colors for better grouping of the related sub concepts.

In contrast to a linear list of text, a graphic concept map clearly represents relative importance of different sub concepts (by how far they are from the center) as well as how much they are related to each other (by their proximity on paper). Mind map is also easier to extend than a continuous text. When you need to add a new concept, just find some space to branch out a new line.

While such visual exercise can be done on paper, there are also a few graphic mind mapping software tools that could streamline the process. Mind mapping software programs greatly simplify visual map creation as well as management, especially when you need to modify, store, and organize your mind maps on a regular basis.

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