Mind mapping is a powerful tool for solving problems and getting organized because it allows you to categorize your ideas visually. Mind mapping can be useful in many applications:
- Developing a multifaceted vision for the future.
- Breaking a challenging goal into bite-sized pieces.
- Dividing your day between several responsibilities.
- Outlining a book in a non-linear way.
- Organizing a group of people working on the same project.
- Categorizing your business’s products and services.
Mind maps are easy to create and use, making them a good choice for those who don’t enjoy lengthy planning processes.
You Will Need
- A large piece of blank paper.
- A pen or pencil.
- Draw a moderately large circle in the center of your paper, being sure to leave plenty of room around the edges.
- Within the circle, write down the project you are working on or topic you are brainstorming about.
- Draw four to six smaller circles around the big one, each labeled with a category of the broader topic. Use lines or spokes to connect the smaller circles to the big one.
- Next to each smaller circle, write down one or more goals, connected to the category with spokes.
- Under each goal, write down a list of tasks that will enable you to complete the goal.
- If at any point you struggle to come up with goals or tasks, try the 5-minute brainstorming challenge.
Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that you are brainstorming a profitable beef cattle business with several streams of income. You might list categories along these lines:
- Direct meat sales.
- Commodity cattle.
- Herd tours.
- Ranch consulting.
You can further break down direct meat sales into the following goals:
- Double bulk beef sales.
- Create value-added beef products.
- Pitch beef to local restaurants.
Now take the goal of doubling bulk beef sales. This could be broken into tasks like the following:
- Create a farm website.
- Set up an email marketing list.
- Print promotional brochures.
- Create a rewards program for referrals from existing customers.
How to Use Your Mind Map
Of course, the most innovative mind map does not help you if you don’t put it to work. Certainly keep it handy for reference. But also be sure to take action on it. Tasks belong on your to-do list. The goals should be worked into your regular goal-setting system.
The beauty of mind mapping is that it is quick and easy, but also highly effective. Have fun with this process. If you make good use of your mind map, it will amply repay your effort.