Interested in learning how to mindmap?
A mind map is a hierarchical diagram used to visualize and analyze a concept. From fostering creativity to improving your planning process, mind mapping offers tons of benefits.
So how do you mind map exactly?
Does it sound as challenging as figuring out the map in a board game like Jumanji?
Don’t worry…it isn’t.
In this article, we’ll cover what’s a mind map, its three must-have elements, and a step-by-step guide on how to mind map. We’ll also highlight how a handy project management tool can help you mindmap easily.
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is a mind map?
- What 3 things must a mind map have?
- How to mindmap? (Step-by-step guide)
- How do you create a mind map?
Let’s get started.
What Is A Mind Map?
A mind map organizes information in a hierarchical way to help you visualize and analyze a central concept. It maps down the concept by branching it into multiple sub-ideas.
But isn’t this similar to other mapping diagrams like a concept map or spider diagram?
A concept map is a visual representation of the relationship between multiple concepts, whereas the term ‘mind map’ revolves around one single concept.
Additionally, a mind map is a type of spider diagram.
Now, what’s a spider diagram?
Don’t worry, this isn’t another Jumanji obstacle you have to face.
Those are just limited to rhinos and crocodiles!
As the name suggests, a spider diagram lays out your complex ideas in the shape of a spider with the main idea or primary idea at the center. The lines branch out from the main idea to add more insights, forming the legs of a spider.
What is mind mapping with an example?
Mind mapping is the visual thinking technique of creating a mind map. The mind mapping technique helps to represent complex ideas in the form of a non-linear diagram.
Any idea that can be broken down into simpler terms can be a mind map example.
Let’s take a look at a specific example of mind mapping.
If you were to make your own Jumanji game, here’s what you’d have:
- Jumanji would be the central topic or central idea
- Your subtopics would include things like player perspective, game modes, chapters, etc.
- There’d be lines connecting the central idea with each key word form a branch
- You’d highlight distinct ideas with a different color to make it easier to read
And the mind map example for Jumanji would look something like this:
What are the benefits of mindmapping?
Mind maps help boost your creative thinking, memory, and productivity.
A mind map lays down information in a concise and systematic way, helping your mind assess things clearly, which, in turn, releases unending vines of related ideas.
Additionally, mind mapping encourages the use of visual stimuli. This forces your thinking mind to make quick associations with the concept you already know.
Mind mapping can be used for several purposes like:
- Project planning
- Gaining insight on a concept
- Organizing new ideas
- Ideating for a blog post
What 3 Things Must A Mind Map Have?
Essentially, every mind map must have:
- A main concept or a central theme
- Branches connecting the main concept and the subtopics
- Keywords to accurately represent the sub idea in a single word
Here’s a closer look at the three main ingredients of how to mind mapping:
1. Central concept
This is the main topic or central idea around which a mind map is constructed.
Sorta like the main idea of Jumanji: Reach the center and call out Jumanji!
The main concept can be anything like:
- A topic or a problem
- An idea that you want to explore
- Or the animals in the jungle!
2. Connecting branches
How do you make the associations clearly visible?
By connecting them!
And that’s what branches do.
They connect each subtopic with the main idea of a mind map using a simple line.
And just like the crystal ball at the center of the game board, the main branches hold your new ideas and subtopics together with coherent connections.
Additionally, you can color each association with a different color so that your mind processes one association at a time (and make your mind map look super appealing!)
A key word is usually a single word that summarizes the subtopics.
Using a single word instead of a sentence makes it easier for you to read.
Key words also make your mind map look less cluttered, making it more effective.
While the central concept, connecting branches, and keywords cook up a simple mind map, you need to also:
- Use a different color to highlight any distinct concept within the map
- Number the sub-ideas or subtopics
- Leave enough space between the idea bubbles to make everything legible
- Highlight key concepts within the map
- Use a central image to represent important sub-ideas
Think of them as the extra tools in your supply box.
They’re super useful and assist in mapping your way out of the jungle!
So now that you know the ingredients for mind mapping, let’s check out the recipe for it.
How To Mindmap? (Step-By-Step Guide)
Creating a mindmap isn’t as difficult as beating Jumanji!
However, it can become tricky if you don’t know how to draw the map properly.
To help you out, here are four easy steps to mind mapping:
Step 1: Start with the central concept
Every mind map has a central theme or main topic, and that’s where you start mind mapping.
In the middle of the sheet, write the main topic, and draw a circle around it.
Step 2: Create main branches around the main idea and sub-branches from them
Represent the sub-ideas or subtopic as a single word or key word and place them around the central topic. Encircle each sub idea and connect them with the main idea bubble. This connecting line is called a branch.
Step 3: Enhance your mind map
As mind mapping is a battleground of creativity, there’s no upper cap to enhancing your mind map.
- Highlight each path with distinct colors
- Add related single words under each sub topic
- Use different font sizes and alignment
- Embolden or underline new ideas
This helps your mind stay clear of the clutter and focus on what’s important.
Step 4: Implement the best ideas and connections into your projects
Mind mapping basically lays out all the possible paths for your project.
And with a color-coded and highlighted mind map, it becomes super easy for you to pick the idea that suits your project needs the best.
Remember, you didn’t channel all that creativity for nothing!
How Do You Create A Mind Map?
A few common ways to perform mind mapping include:
Here’s a detailed breakdown of each mind mapping technique:
1. Using pen and paper
This seems like the easiest method out there.
You only need a pen and paper (and your mind).
However, it’s far from ideal.
Mind mapping on a pen and paper can create several hurdles, like:
- You can’t easily share your mind map with your team members
- You struggle with limited space to hold all your different ideas
- You can’t use physical mind maps remotely
- If you lose your mind map, you’ve lost the only copy of your work
Additionally, you can get lost in a sea of sticky notes!
And then you’d need another map to find your way out.
Not the best idea, right?
2. Use a mind map template
Another way for mind mapping is to use a mind map template offered by tools like Microsoft Word.
While a mind map template saves time, they’re not the best option.
You’ll have to:
- Download a template and edit it to suit your needs
- Stick to the limited customizing options provided by the mind mapper
You may also not be able to export the mind map for easy sharing.
Sure, mind map templates are great for starters (if you ignore the lengthy editing process), but it forces you to stick with whatever’s offered, which is never a good idea for creativity!
3. Use mind mapping software like ClickUp
So what’s the best way for mindmapping?
Use a dedicated mind mapping tool!
Mind mapping software like ClickUp helps you organize your free-flowing thoughts into beautiful mind maps.
Wait, what’s ClickUp?
ClickUp is the highest-rated project management and mind-mapping tool in the world.
Widely used by 100,000+ super productive teams from startups to giants like Google, Airbnb, and Uber, it’s the only tool you’ll need to efficiently manage all your projects.
ClickUp’s Mind Maps helps you transform any thought or creative ideas into free-form mind maps in no time!
ClickUp offers two modes to make the mind mapping process a breeze:
A. Tasks mode
The Tasks mode maps out the entire structure of your workspace for all the existing projects. Create, delete, filter, or customize your outfit (your Mind Map) to quickly form a logical path for your projects and tasks.
Tasks mode is also a great way to figure out how all your existing projects are connected with each other.
Here’s how the Tasks mode functions in this mapping software:
- Each text box represents a node
- The + icon expands the node in the order of the hierarchical outline (from the Folders down to the subtasks)
- The – icon collapses each layer of a node
- The connector color corresponds to the status of the task or subtasks
Does this mean you’re unable to customize this mindmap?
- Click on the + icon of a list to create a task within that list
- Edit the task details by expanding it
- Handle multiple tasks at once by using the Multitask Toolbar
- Move tasks between lists by dragging the diamond on the connector
Note: The diamond appears after clicking on the branch.
B. Blank mode
The Blank mode offers a blank space for mind mapping from scratch.
While it’s independent of the existing task structure, you can convert any reference node into a task whenever you want.
And the best part?
With ClickUp, you don’t need to solve cryptic messages to learn how to mind map!
Here’s how you can quickly create a mind map in this mapping tool:
- Create and name the root node or central topic
- Click on the – symbol to create a sub-node
- Hit Enter/Return to add a subnode directly
- Select the desired color from the dropdown for your node connector
- Simply drag a node and its connected branches to move it to any other node
And voila, you have your mind map!
Not happy with the outcome?
Use the Re-Layout option to automatically arrange all the nodes!
This mapping tool lets you publicly share your mind maps with project stakeholders and clients as well. They can easily view and stay updated on how projects are progressing.
But mind mapping isn’t the only thing that ClickUp’s great at!
This mind mapping app comes with tons of amazing features, like:
- Docs: create, store, and share documents with your in-house or virtual team
- Proofing & Annotation: add comments to images and PDF files
- Notepad: jot down ideas and later convert them into tasks
- Dashboards: get a high-level view of your workspace with Agile charts like Cumulative Flow Diagram, Burndown, Burnup, and Velocity charts
- Workflow Automation: automate repetitive processes with 50+ pre-built automation commands or build your own
- Screen Recording: record your screen and share it with your team members for detailed walkthroughs
- Comments: discuss and share relevant files or links in the task’s comment section. You can even Assign Comments to specific team members to ensure your comments don’t go unnoticed
While mind mapping is the perfect tool for a brainstorming session, it can become confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing.
But does that mean you’re doomed?
Simply use the step-by-step guide mentioned here to create the perfect mindmap!
However, effective project planning is more than just mind mapping. You also need the right project management tool, like ClickUp, to go hand-in-hand.
So why not sign up for ClickUp today and mind map your strategy to always come out on top?
Greg is a Content Strategist at ClickUp, where he crafts copy and content for the most productive people in the world. When he’s not living in ClickUp Docs, he’s spending quarantine somewhere in San Diego, drinking wine, reading his Kindle, watching documentaries, or eating shit on his surfboard.