This is a guest post written by Andrea Leyden from the ExamTime team. ExamTime is a free elearning platform which includes a Mind Map tool I briefly wrote about here.
Mind Mapping has been around for longer than you think but the term was only coined more recently which was when its popularity exploded. With the rise in awareness of Mind Maps came the realization that they could be applied to different areas such as learning, planning, visualization and productivity.
A stat has been floating around for some time that you can accomplish 20 hours of work in just 6 hours simply by using Mind Maps to organize your thoughts. Although it truly is an impressive concept, let’s be honest; humans are individuals. You can definitely be more productive at work and in life using Mind Maps but the exact amount of time you can save cannot be quantified.
There are lots of ways Mind Mapping can be used to boost your productivity. Below are the top 5 techniques that have worked best for me:
- Task Management
Mind Maps can easily help you to plan and organize your time better. In one diagram you can show tasks you need to complete and their priority plus the time you have to dedicate to each area. See below an example of how I used an ExamTime Mind Map to organize my upcoming holiday to Italy:
- Easy Visualization
Traditional note-taking requires linear thinking and processing which doesn’t support your ability to link ideas and make associations. Mind Maps are key to ensuring you use your precious time more effectively as you can absorb the information in the diagram almost at a glance. Whether you’re relaying information to your boss, memorizing notes before an important meeting or giving a presentation, this method can be key to your success.
- Embrace Creativity
Mind Maps are well-known as a tool which enhance brainstorming as they provide a blank canvas and the freedom you need to generate ideas. Online Mind Maps in particular are a great instrument to have in your toolkit if your aim is to unlock your creative side as you can easily move nodes, add images and use different shapes, sizes and colors. You don’t need to be an artist but it will save you time by allowing you to express your ideas quickly and intuitively.
- Radiant Thinking
This is a mental process which everyone can relate to. Have you ever heard a song, smelled a scent or even tasted something that reminds you of a memory or thought? The jolt you get when your brain reacts this way is known as “Radiant Thinking”. You brain is a giant machine of associations which makes this happen. Using a Mind Map to represent this information can help you understand your thoughts and sift through your jumbled ideas more clearly.
- Left and Right Brain Working Together
Tying in the two previous points and understanding how the hemispheres of the brain work, it’s easy to see how Mind Maps can fit into this space. As you can see in the image below, the right side of your brain is the creative, idea-generating, buzz-filled part of your mind while the left side thinks logically, analytically and with reasoning. People generally tend to use one side more than the other but you can integrate these cortical skills to improve your brain capacity and ability to memorize information. The best way to improve your productivity is often the hardest – thinking quicker and on your feet!
Two heads are better than one! Mind Mapping is a clever way to collaborate with your team members on projects at different stages from idea generation to planning and workflow management.
Also, building on the idea that Mind Maps help you make associations and boost your creativity, Leonardo DaVinci said “Everything is connected to everything else.” Opening up your thought process will help you as an individual work more productively.
How to Create a Mind Map:
ExamTime is a free and easy-to-use website which includes a Mind Mapping tool. This allows you to create Mind Maps in 3 simple steps:
- Start with a central topic or idea: Once you understand the purpose of your Mind Map, outlining your priorities and ideas should be easy.
- Let your ideas flow: Jot down anything and everything you can think of. The tidying up comes later so don’t worry about your direction.
- Finishing touches: Unleash your creativity by adding images, colour and including different shapes. Organizing your diagram is the last step in the process.
As you can see, there are tons of ways you can integrate Mind Mapping into your life to boost your productivity. What other ways would can you think of?