Do you find it hard to learn something without knowing its structure or context?
I’m often in that situation for example while reading a non-fiction book. How does this one part fit with the rest of the book? How are the parts related? To avoid such questions I make notes in form of a Mind-Map.
Mind-Mapping is a thinking tool. It was introduced by Tony Buzan and is especially known for mapping your thoughts by using pictures, metaphors, colors and associations.
How to Mind-Map
Draw or write the topic of your mind-map in the center of an empty paper.
Draw or write a branch for every item, thought etc
Draw or write subranches for subitems
Use colors and draw pictures!
Use thicker branches for bigger items
As already mentioned I use Mind-Mapping to take notes but there are more applications. Here is an incomplete list:
Collecting ideas and brainstorming
Structure non-fiction books. Your own structure fits better into your own mind model
Create a presentation
Instead of Protocols. You will write less and memorize more
Planning and organizing
Learning and preparing for tests
Often a Mind-Map serves more of these applications at the same time. For example, for every article I create a Mind-Map to collect ideas. At the same time I learn more about the topic and often I also get a structure.
I recommend creating 2 versions. You create the first as a draft or a template. While you create the second, cluster items, sort items out, draw pictures with more care. So the second or final version is clean and neat. You can use a Mind-Map software. But it only makes sense for documentation or if you have a very dynamic topic there you change things all the time. Otherwise,/Normally, Mind-Mapping software restricts you more than it helps.
Mind-Mapping has also some limits. They are sorted hierarchically. Some topics are better mapped by a net or are too complex. In such cases you will get same items in different branches. This will cause more confusion than insight.
Mind-Maps are not self-explaining. Every Mind-Map is specific to his creator. If you create a Mind-Map, it represents exaggerated your intern mind structure. The drawings and colors have only meaning to you. You can use a Mind-Map as a tool to help you to explain something.
Call on Action:
Try Mind-Mapping at least 5 times!
Draw a Mind-Map to this article!