Mind Mapping purists will tell you that you can use it for EVERYTHING.
Of course they would say that, they are Mind Mapping purists.
That’s what purists do – try and convince the world that their way is the only way.
Now I used to be a hard line Mind Mapping purist in my youth but as time has gone on I have mellowed somewhat.
I am perhaps more of a moderate these days but still firmly believe that the use of the Mind Map process is pretty much a good choice to make in just about any situation where you need to capture and organise your thoughts on paper.
So what I want to do is share with you my top ten uses for mind mapping.
These are the day to day applications of the mind map that I find myself using the most.
I do use it for a wide variety of tasks and activities but what follows are the list of the most frequently used.
I must also stress that these mind mapping applications are of the hand drawn variety – I will share with you my top 10 mind mapping software applications in a future post.
So in no particular order, here are the ten ways that I use hand drawn mind mapping (by the way I will provide yet another Mind Mapping example at the end of this post to summarise the list.
1. Planning My Week
One of my personal productivity secrets is the process I go through every week to review all of my outstanding and future activities.
Out of that process will come my prioritised list of things that have to be done by the end of the next week.
I capture those on a Mind Map and use it to direct and guage my progress through the next 7 days.
2. Planning my Day
In the same way that I plan my week, I also spend time planning my day using Mind Mapping.
At the end of a day, I will review the progress I have made and then plan how I am going to spend the next day.
I always do it the night before so when I start work the following morning, I know exactly what I need to get going with and so avoid wasting time trying to decide.
3. Creating To Do Lists
This is subtlely different from planning my day in that the to do list might be related to a specific project or it might just be an all encompassing gathering of everything that needs to be done so I can get back on top of things.
The great thing about using mind mapping to do that is the logical groupings of the tasks develop themselves as you start to add them to the appropriate branch.
4. Planning My Projects
Getting things done these days really requires a degree of project management and using Mind Mapping to start gathering my thoughts, thinking about priorities and establishing dependencies and relationships really helps to get a project off to a great start.
Using mind mapping software to do this might be a more efficient process for some (in fact I do use the software to manage my projects), but in the beginning, I like to use hand drawn maps because I personally think better with a pad and coloured pen in my hand.
5. Preparing for Meetings
I wrote about this extensively in my post Mind Mapping Examples for Meetings so I won’t repeat what was written there.
6. Taking Notes in Meetings
Again check out my post Mind Mapping Examples for Meetings for a couple of example mind maps and an explanation of how I take notes in meetings using this tool.
We are bombarded with information every second of the day from hundreds if not thousands of different sources and keeping on top of what data we need can be a signficant challenge.
The key to avoiding overwhelm is:
- First of all get very clear on what you are trying to achieve.
- Secondly understand what information you need to achieve that
- Thirdly only give your time and attention to that specific information
- Fourthy capture and process that information in an efficient and memorable format
Of course, Mind Mapping is what I use to do just that and I find I am able to go through vast amounts of information, pick out the key points, capture them on a Mind Map and then have not only a deep and thorough understanding, but also extremely good long term recall.
8. Telephone Calls
In my business I spend quite a lot of time on the telephone speaking to prospective clients and potential business partners.
As with meetings, it is vital that I prepare well for these calls and especially when I am in a sales mode, have a strategy for the call.
Mind Mapping is perfect for doing that but it is also a great way of capturing a record of the call that I can refer to at a later date.
Creativity and the generation of ideas is critical to the success of any business and being able to swiftly come up with potential solutions is a great skill to have.
Fortunately Mind Mapping is a perfect tool to take a situation that requires a solution, brainstorm some initial thoughts and then generate ideas from those initial thoughts.
If you apply it with other creativity tools such as De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, then you really do have a powerful combination for brainstorming.
And finally the hand drawn mind mapping application that is probably my favourite and the one I use the most is for thinking.
When I am taking stock of a situation or need to consolidate my thoughts on something I will sit down somewhere quiet and will think and capture my thoughts using a mind map.
I might be problem solving, generating ideas, making a decision or analysing a business deal – it doesn’t really matter what it is yet I find that mind mapping is a great process to use when I think.
Some of my best ideas have come out of doing exactly that.
To summarise my top ten here is a mind map I have put together especially for this post:
So there are my top 10 uses of Mind Mapping together with another example mind map that summarises those uses.
I would love to know what your top ten uses of Mind Mapping are so do let me know in the comments below.