If you regularly practice mind mapping, then you’re probably already well aware of how incredibly useful it can be for organizing your thoughts and identifying best plans of action. Mind mapping is one of the most useful tools for brainstorming, as it allows us to visually write out our thought processes and ideas in a way that closely mirrors how they occur naturally in our brains.
While mind mapping is inherently useful, there are some tips and techniques that you can employ in order to get the most out of your experience. Here are three ways to maximize the results of your mind mapping sessions.
1. Never Anticipate Your End Result
The purpose of mind mapping is to try to replicate the organic flow of thoughts as they occur in our brains. When our minds wander freely, we aren’t intentionally trying to arrive at a specific answer or concept. Instead, our thought processes are occurring without any sort of conscious or deliberate effort.
If you have a specific answer that you’d like to arrive at during your mind mapping sessions, then you aren’t truly going about the process in the correct manner. To truly reap the benefits of mind mapping, it’s essential that you completely remove your conscious mind from the process. Let the ideas flow freely and don’t anticipate where your thoughts will take you.
2. Don’t Judge Yourself or Your Ideas
When we allow our minds to wander, we do so without judgement or self-criticism. Your mind is your most private place. Since the people around us can’t hear our thoughts, we feel completely free to daydream and think without a fear of how others will perceive us. This is very different than when we communicate aloud, as our verbal communication renders us susceptible to the judgement of others.
However, once you start writing your thoughts down, they are no longer secluded in the privacy of your mind. Instead, they’re out there on paper for others to see, analyze and potentially judge. Even if your mind mapping is done alone and in total privacy, the element of your thoughts being written down on paper can lead to a feeling of insecurity and self-doubt.
While it’s normal to second guess oneself, try to avoid judging your ideas. It’s okay to analyze the results of your mind mapping session, but don’t allow yourself to be judgmental about what you see on the paper in front of you. The best mind mapping sessions are the ones where the person feels completely free to write down any and all thoughts, no matter how silly or strange they may be.
3. Be Artistic and Enjoy The Process
Mind mapping should never feel like a chore. It should never be something that you’re doing only because you feel like you have to or need to do it. If you aren’t enjoying the process, you’re going to struggle to get anything truly meaningful out of your sessions. There are many great ways to make mind mapping more enjoyable, such as:
- Use various colored pencils or markers to add an artistic flair to your maps
- Play music that gets you energized and floods you with inspiration
- Intentionally try to be silly, odd or “out there”
- Use a timer to try to reach a certain amount of strings of thought in a short amount of time
Your mind mapping sessions should never feel like a chore. Use whatever resources are at your disposal to make the process more artistic and more enjoyable for yourself. Try to keep all of your maps, even the ones that didn’t render any useful new ideas or insight. When you look back on them in the future, you might actually find them to be more useful than you initially thought they were.
Map Freely and Frequently
As with anything else, practice makes perfect. Your mind mapping sessions will get better and better over time. As you make mind mapping a routine part of your life, you’ll find it easier to record the natural flow of your ideas without experiencing any mental blocks and without judging yourself.