I probably first came across the idea of representing facts in the form of a diagram when I was at school studying for my A levels. However, then it was about organising somebody else’s information so that it would be easier to understand or recall. Information contained in a textbook or from a teacher.
At the time I didn’t find it easy to translate information to a diagram. I also don’t feel that I think in a way that made it easy for me to create my own mind maps or concept maps. I believe I’m more a logical, linear thinker than an arty drawy type and tended to create lists instead. Yet I often imagine things spacially and I’m quite good translating what’s on a map into the real world or imagining things like atoms or planets in orbit as a moving animation.
Decades later I came across the idea of using mind maps in internet marketing. However it was probably this initial difficulty of creating concept maps that made me resist the idea of using a diagram to organise my own information, my own thoughts and plans.
The turning point came when I saw some presentations by Alex Jeffreys. He would organise the content of his presentation in a mind map and then talk his way through it. This seemed so much quicker and easier than writing out a full script that I decided to try it for myself.
I used a mind map to create the free ebook that you can see to the top right of this page. I simply started with a central topic which was the main theme of the book and then added subtopics or branches as I thought of them. The text I used was fairly short and designed to remind me about certain topics. A mind map is for organising information, not for presenting excessive detail.
Using a mind map gave me the flexibility to easily create an outline and then insert any other thoughts that occurred to me. As a result it probably took me in total only a few hours to plan the book, which was then completed over a weekend. I had never before produced an ebook so quickly.
I have since also used mind mapping to outline the content of a course and below is part of a mind map I am currently using to brainstorm some possible content for a membership site.
So if you’re struggling with organising information, planning how you will present some material, or looking for a way to increase your productivity I recommend you give mind mapping a try.