03 June 2011

Mind Mapping Made Easy - Follow Your Thoughts & Heart

Continuing from Brain Storming with Mind Mapping - Illustrated with the Future of Singapore.

It is always worthwhile to go back to the very basic and see we can improve and shorten the way we acquire mastery in a particular subject.

I want to share about mind-mapping using a software tool like freemind. See mind tools for a list of some of the software.

Using a software version of mind-mapping is much better than the paper version. You will never run out of paper and you are never afraid of changes. These two main problems caused a lot of people to giving up on mind-mapping even though they acquired the skills in their school days.

Here is my list of tips:

Stage 1 Start with a Central Idea and Just Go for it

1. Begin with Some Main Theme
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Just jot down what is your main issue you are thinking off. Please note that you don't need to worry about coming out with the perfect wordings. Just type in what you think is best for the moment. You can change the wording and you can even demote it, yes, demote it from main theme to just a branch topic later. Hence I intentionally insert the word 'some' showing that you can change it whenever you think you come out with something better latter.

2. Flow Naturally From Broad to Details
From the main theme, you put out branches describing more and more details you your thoughts flow. Don't worry about your getting it right the first time. You can re-organize them later. The software allow you to that. Just capture your thoughts as they flow. Even if it does not seem logical, just stick it any where to capture your thoughts.

3. Be Bold & Free. Just put your ideas down.
Don't even worry about whether you got the parent-child classification right. We can re-arrange them later.

This is especially true when you are following a train of thoughts and then suddenly think of another. Feel free to break out from the train and start another one. You can go back to revisit the earlier trains of thoughts later.

The principle is simple - when the idea-juice is flowing, don't interrupt the flow. Just keep it flowing. The more you write down, the happier you get and you will think of more. After some time, we will come to stage of needing a break, this is then you take a break and go into the next stage of Reflection and Reorganization.

4. Use Few Words for Each Idea
To capture quickly and to see quickly, use as few words as possible to describe your concept. Drop all unnecessary the, a, words. Use noun or verb as you like. If you fill you need to write longer sentences to minimize misunderstanding later, do so now. Write the long sentences down too. There is a good place to handle such long sentences later. But capturing it now is more important.

5. Expand in Depth or Width in any order
There is no specific rule or order to follow. You can go wide first and then go in depth any particular branch or go in depth first and then by width as your ideas flow. Be flexible. Some time width and some time depth.

When you think you have recorded all your ideas and it it time to take a break. Have it now and come back 10-20 mins later to see how we can organize  them.

Here is the mind-map for what we have and shall be covering in future posts. You would notice that I actually write this from my mind-map. Actually, I tried to write as usual thinking it is only a short post, but after a while I feel I need to organize my thoughts and fall back to a mind-map. I work on the map to get my thoughts better organized and then re-write this post following from my finalized map.

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