how to create a mind map for beginners
Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Mind maps for beginners

Shuhaid Lambe Technology

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

― E.F. Schumacher

Whether you are starting a new business, running an existing one or working as an executive within an organization. Ability to stop, think and decipher signals from noise is an important trait to possess.

To some, the ability to decipher signals from noise comes naturally and to the rest of us it looks as though they possess a super power.

If there is anything the origin story of any super hero has taught us, its that while some super heroes get their day zero powers from unnatural sources. They still need to practice, get hurt, fail over and over again till they hone their skills to become a super hero.

Superheroes are not born they are made!
— Wise person 😊

Similarly, the super heroes you encounter in your work or enterprise too have practiced analysis, scrutiny, decision making multiple times over. They too have failed, but have learnt from those failures. The ability to take a problem break it down into chunks and analyse its various aspects individually, allows these super heroes to take more informed decisions to resolve problems. Moreover, an approach like this helps them to reduce the impact of failures as it is limited to a particular area and not the complete solution.

What has all of this got to do with mind mapping, you ask? Everything, is the short answer. Mind mapping is a technique which can help you decipher large problems in to small digestible chunks. Burrp!

It can represent a complete concept when seen from a birds eye view, but at the same time provide a detailed view when zoomed into a particular area. Using the mind mapping technique you too can look at the big picture for a particular problem and at the same time have the ability to zoom into a particular area of the problem. Take decisions to solve one particular part of the problem at a time. These byte sized solutions come together (seemingly magically) to solve large problems, giving you the power of a super hero.

What is a mind map?

A mind map can visually represent any idea, concept, requirement or a solution. They can also aid in studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing. Take for example how would you explain the game of Tennis (of which Roger Federer is the best player of all time no questions asked 😉). You could either start writing a document or making a power point presentation or alternatively you could create a mind map.

 
For example —
Mind map explaining tennis
Image source - wikipedia

The above visual representation would have resulted in multiple slides or a long form document. The simplicity of the above representation is what makes mind maps or mind mapping is really nice skill to learn and refine.

Where can I use mind maps?

Pretty much everywhere. Any document, power point, notes or to do list can be converted into a mind map. For example, a friend on mine who I recently introduced to mind mapping used it to plan his vacation to Kenya and Tanzania. It has helped him figure out how much he needs to save and how much time it would take him to get there.

Here are some areas you can start using mind maps in your work right now:

  • Requirement gathering
  • Note taking
  • Brainstorming a new idea
  • Problem solving
  • Planning
  • Presenting information
  • Learning something new

The list goes on and on. Its limited only by your own imagination. Maybe you could create a mind map to figure out what you could be using mind maps for in your day to day work 😊

How to draw a mind map?

Drawing a mind map is simple

  • Start by writing the idea or central theme of your topic
  • Next write down relevant sub-topics you want address for your main topic
  • Repeat the same process for each of your sub-topics, till you have achieved the level of detail you require to cover you core topic.

Lets taken an example, the sport of Cricket. Start at the center of your page by writing Cricket and drawing a bubble around it. Write down a list of sub topics you want to cover under Cricket for example formats like Tests, One dayers and T20. Expand each of these nodes further, by covering the rules for each format. Remember, one node can have one or many child nodes. But they are all eventually connected to the central concept i.e. Cricket. Give it a shot 🏏

Tools to draw a mind map

There are a host of tools available to draw mind maps. Quite a few of them are free to use or free to try. Tools we use within our work at Swipez are :

Desktop tool : Freemind - link. Freemind is available for download for Windows and Mac. As the name suggests, its free and has everything you need to get started including exporting your mind maps into shareable formats like PDFs.

Web based tool : Coggle - link. It has a free plan which can be used to create 3 private and unlimited public mind maps. For 5$ a month you could switch to a paid plan to create unlimited private mind maps.

Final thoughts

We have found using mind maps incredibly useful to break down large problems and solve them for our customers. Any new project or sizable enhancement we build starts with a mind map. Not only does it lay all out there in one place but also becomes a great reference to go back and check why certain things were done a particular way.

To get you started, here is another example. This mind map describes how to build a simple website - link