ALL the thoughts! Really. ALL the thoughts swirling around in my head. It’s like the tornado from Wizard of Oz in there.
Oh look! There goes that phone call I need to make! Wow! That cool new social media tool I’m supposed learn just whizzed by! If I could just …. reach it …. and hold.on.to.it.
They swirl and swirl. The harder I try to grab on and tuck them into a safe place in my memory bank, the more they swirl and nag. Until I am a whimpering lump … confused, overwhelmed, stressed out and ready to walk away from the whole blasted thing.
Have you ever felt like that? Or is it only the craziness going on in my own head? I’m willing to bet Dorothy’s ruby slippers that you have felt it too.
A mind map is a powerful tool for getting those swirling thoughts out of your head, down on paper and collected into categories. Popularized by Tony Buzan in the 1970’s, it is a visual tool that has been used to organize all kinds of information.
When you start googling to look for examples, you’ll find everything from complicated and elaborate hand-drawn masterpieces to stripped down computer-generated layouts. And all of these have their place in the world of developing ideas.
I personally try to keep my mind mapping fairly simple, focused on dumping everything from my head to the paper. Although, I have found that an occasional doodle and well-placed arrow will sometimes get the creative juices flowing. So experiment and do what works best for you!
Mind Mapping Tips
- Your main goal or central idea goes in the center circle. The ovals are for multi-step projects or categories. You can have sub-categories or sub-projects off of the ovals (see the yellow circles in the example)
- The “branches” are for individual steps or tasks.
- You can add ovals or lines as needed (see the red circles and lines in the example)
- Let your mind wander as you draw ovals and lines. Mentally explore the idea and get everything out in the open.
- A single task could fall under multiple ovals. It doesn’t matter which one you put it on. Just get it out of your head and down on paper!
- Don’t try to edit your ideas as you work. Put down everything you think of and edit later.
- Keep your mind map handy for a few days. You’ll probably have more ideas come to you that you want to capture.
While I prefer to do my mind mapping on paper, there are some cool digital tools available, like MindMup (free, online), MindMaple (free, download) and Mindmeister (not free, download). Some have mobile apps associated with them, which could be handy. Try them out and let us know if you like them!
Once you have everything out of your head and onto to the paper, it can be a bit overwhelming. Next week, Zohary and I will be talking about PLANNING to eat your elephant. I’ll lead you through the Planning Six-Pack to sort and schedule your tasks. So don’t miss it!
Share below how mind mapping may help your get the idea tornado out of your head.
This week I am linking up with Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart.