The art of mind-mapping: The easiest way to learn and manage anything.

What is a mind map? A mind-map is a diagram that captures a central idea and the though process that surrounds the idea. In short it captures the way your brain thinks graphically. Don’t get overwhelmed, it is actually very simple and is very easy to document. All you need is a pencil and a paper and you are set. (I personally use a software to do the same, but more on that later.) I have found it as one of the greatest ways to organize, learn and manage just about anything. I have used it to manage a lot of different things from learning complex science projects to designing complex software systems (like the O2 game engine and the Doofus game system).

1.jpgLets do a small example. A mind map starts off by placing the central idea at the center of a page. Refer the image on the right. In this case the central idea is shopping. I will show you how to organize your shopping list and how easy it is to build a mind map. In the end the mind-map will help you out in ways you never thought possible.

So we put shopping in the center of the page. Now, when you do go out shopping you generally have more than one items to pick up. So suppose you want to, lets say, buy a new dress, get some groceries, buy a new bag, buy your friend a birthday gift, get a brand new pair of shoes . To get all these in a mind-map, just simply jot them down radially around the idea leaving a lot of space in between. Put a small circle around each task (or not) and connect them to the central idea. Refer below.

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Your mind map is ready. Well you might say, “So what this! Just a fancy way to make a shopping list”. Yes it is, but it gives you more than just a simple list would. You can manage things better with a map like this. You can add to this mind map to make things a lot better. I will demonstrate with an example. Suppose, all these five things are sold at five different places, which you plan to visit one by one when you go out shopping. The store that sells bags is the nearest to you, so you naturally would want to go there first. Lets add that information to the mind-map, simple, just write 1 near the “New bag” tag. Do the same for all the others.

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You can further expand your memory map to have a lot more information. I think you must have got a gist of what I am trying to say. Refer below a complete example of a larger map with more information. Just by looking at the map you will get a concise picture of what all is to be done on your shopping trip.

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Mind maps can get really big really quickly. So always be generous of the space you jot your ideas on. There is also an excellent software called Freemind that you can use to make mind maps. For your information, I made all the above maps in Freemind, and I do encourage you to try it. I have made huge mind maps with it without any problems and they have helped me a lot. There is a lot of information on mind maps all over the web. Try it, it can help you in your education, job and in your daily life.

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