Seven Ways to Use Mindmaps

Not all these are my ideas. I have read about most of them.

1. As a note taking tool

While listening to a talk or a radio program (like NPR), write down concepts. Scatter them on the page. Start connecting them. Later, after the talk/program is done, name the associations. I use a blank white sheet with no lines.

2. As a thinking tool

Start with the central idea/theme in the middle of the page. For about 5-10 minutes just write down every other related idea that occurs to you. Draw the connections. Take a look the the map and if needed, re-organize it as another diagam.

3. As a problem solving tool

Write down the problem in the center. Write every associated problem that may occur if this problem is not solved on one half of the page. Write every possible solution you can think of (for the initial problem) on the other half of the page.

4. As a brainstorming tool

This is done with a group. Write down the idea/problem you want to brainstorm about. Write it in the middle of a whiteboard. Let people shout out whatever comes to their mind. Write those ideas. Connnect them to the central idea and to other related ones. A visual dispersion of topics has one advantage. It has no implied ordering which allows you to think more clearly. If the mindmap gets too dense (more than 7-9 nodes), repartition it.

5. As a To-do list

Draw a simple map first with three nodes – short term, medium term, long term. Take each one of your todo list item and connect to one of these. Explore other alternative ways of classifying your todo lists:

6. As a learning tool

After reading each chapter, write down a mind map of the chapter. Then write down a consolidated map of the whole book (or topic). Use it to refresh your memory once in a while. You can also use the nodes of the maps as pointers to important resources.

7. Improvement Map

Make a list of ideas for improving things about you and around you. Pick a few and transfer them to the todo list (not-urgent but important category).

Go to Mind Mapping Resource Center for more ideas

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8 thoughts on “Seven Ways to Use Mindmaps

  1. Thank you for sharing that with us. It is a great tool for thinking and having a dialog with yourself. Very effective.

  2. Sean,
    Mindmaps can be autogenerated from wikis too. We can actually have two. One generated from the recent changes and one from the WikiWords (topics).

    In fact Eugene pointed out that Wikiwords give you a vocabulary of the community and backlinks gives you how much of that vocabulary is used ( and usage patterns).

  3. Hi Manish,

    can you share some examples if you can? I want to use mindtools to brainstorm and organize ideas but have a starting problem.

    thanks in advance

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