We all know what the mind is.
And we all know what a map is.
Put them together, and voila, you get…a map of your mind?
So what is mind mapping?
Mind mapping is the easiest way to plan, organize, and visualize your thoughts and ideas. And we’re sure you’ve come across mind maps at least once before.
Remember how Dr. Strange saw through all the possible outcomes of the fight against Thanos?
Yep, that’s a superhero’s version of mental mind mapping. Mapping out all the possibilities helped him pick that one path towards victory!
By the end of this article, you won’t be confused over what is a mind map. We’ll also cover its benefits and how to create an effective mind map with a powerful visual tool to make the process a breeze.
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is a mind map?
- What are the benefits of mind mapping?
- How do you create a mind map?
Let’s get started!
What Is A Mind Map?
A mind map is a hierarchical diagram built around a central concept. It organizes information in a non-linear way, which helps you visualize and analyze any concept.
A mind map essentially consists of a central idea with tons of related sub-ideas branching out from it. Each of those sub-ideas has sub-ideas of their own that branch out. And those sub-branches… well, you get the idea.
Sorta like Dr. Strange’s mapping of 14 million possibilities here:
(Of course, our normal brains can’t comprehend this process!)
Let’s break it down.
Every mind map revolves around a few common characteristics:
- The central concept is the main idea of the mind map
- Subtopics flow from the central concept as branches
- Each branch includes a key image or key word
- The branches form a connected nodal network
- Different colors can be used to highlight a distinct concept within the map
These characteristics set a mindmap apart from other mapping techniques like concept mapping.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
A mind map is built around a central image and forms a nodal network of keywords, whereas:
- A concept map visually depicts the relationships between multiple concepts and related ideas. Concept mapping is more complex and allows cross-connections between concepts, unlike a mind map that focuses only on one concept at a time.
- An org chart or organizational chart is a visual representation of the internal structure of an organization. It shows the relationships and hierarchy of ranks within the organization.
- Flowcharts represent the steps of a workflow or process with each step usually represented in a box and connected with arrows.
- A Spider diagram lays out your complex ideas in the shape of a spider with the main idea at the center and lines that branch out to add more insights. A mind map is actually a type of spider diagram.
However, this all still leaves one question unanswered…
What is meant by mind mapping?
Mind mapping is the visual technique of representing complex ideas on a diagram. You can use it to create mind maps, boosting your productivity, creativity, and memory.
Mind mapping can be used for several activities like:
- Brainstorming session
- Idea generation
To explain things better, let’s check out an example of mind mapping.
What is a mind map example?
Any idea that can be broken down into simpler ones to become a mind map example.
However, to be more specific, let’s check out a mind map for “Time Management.”
This mind mapping example can be broken down as follows:
- Time Management as the central topic or idea
- Subtopics like clarity, effectiveness, communication, and delegation
- The curved lines from the central idea towards each key word form a branch
- Use of different colors like orange and blue for different ideas
And the mind map would look something like this:
What Are The Benefits Of Mind Mapping?
Here are the five key benefits of mind mapping:
1. Aids problem solving
You can’t find the perfect solution without exploring all the options, right?
And mindmapping does exactly that!
It provides better clarity about any piece of information. This helps you map the relationships between the central idea and the different possible solutions.
Of course, being aware of all the options doesn’t mean that you have the perfect solution.
But since a mindmap offers you a better perspective during brainstorming, you can:
- Easily narrow down any issues
- Weigh all your potential options
Both of which contribute to the perfect solution!
2. Simplifies project planning
Planning a project is no easy task.
You deal with a lot of things like tasks, resources, budgets, and more.
And while it would’ve been super easy for the Ancient One, we’re a long way from mastering the required spells.
But don’t worry!
Mind mapping (and using the right mapping software) is the modern solution to easy project planning.
Use the mind mapping technique to transform your project related ideas and thoughts into simpler, systematic strategies.
This not only ensures a steady start to the project; it also provides an insight into problems that you could face in later stages.
3. Fosters creative thinking
The wireframes of a mindmap form a spatial layout that provides a better overview of the main concept. It makes all the connections on the map more visible.
As you’re able to view things clearly, your mind makes room for thinking, opening up portals for an infinite number of related ideas.
Moreover, adding images to the map acts as visual stimuli. This enables our brain’s thinking part to make quick associations with the information we already know.
And while it can’t help you rival Dr. Strange’s creativity and quick-thinking, it definitely helps you out!
4. Improves memory
A mind map focuses on images, shapes, and colors, which leaves a greater impact on our brain’s thinking capacity.
This unique combination of mental triggers helps our brain process and memorize such a concept in greater detail when compared to traditional notes or plain text.
I mean, try identifying all the Infinity Stones if they were of the same color!
Additionally, as your power to memorize information improves, your recalling power strengthens too.
5. Makes learning meaningful
There’s a difference between learning through textbooks and in-person training, right?
Similarly, visually stimulating mind maps are a more meaningful source of learning than never-ending paragraphs.
Mindmapping forces our brain to make associations between different colors, keywords, and images, making room for radiant thinking.
Additionally, they’re also a great revision technique as they break down complex ideas into structured bits and improve visual thinking, memorization, and recall.
Tip: The next time you’re studying for an exam/interview, add a visual thinking tool like mind maps to your writing process. It’ll help you remember what you’ve learned!
How Do You Create A Mind Map?
Use these simple steps to create a mind map quickly:
- Draw a bubble with the central idea or big idea in the middle of the sheet
- Branch out each subtopic with new bubbles from the central theme
- Connect each subtopic to the central theme with lines
- Add each new idea under the subtopic
- Repeat the previous step for each subtopic branching out from the main topic
After you create the basic layout of a mind map, make sure you implement these steps:
- Use different colors, images, and symbols
- Use short phrases or a single word for the main topic and subtopics
- Name the connecting branches from the central topic using a key word
- Use various font sizes and alignments
- Leave proper space between the central theme and idea bubbles
- Use different colors or borders to highlight the important concept or branches
Now that you’ve learned the steps to create a mind map, all you need is a platform to create one.
And while using pen and paper or a mind map template might be someone’s go-to method, using a mind mapping software like ClickUp to make digital mind maps makes the job a lot easier!
Wait, what’s ClickUp?
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 for efficiently managing all your projects.
But aren’t we looking for a mind mapping software, not a project management tool?
Don’t worry, we’ll explain!
ClickUp offers advanced built-in mind mapping features to take care of all your mind mapping needs. And since it’s a versatile project management tool, you can use it for more than just mind mapping.
Let’s see why ClickUp’s the best mind mapping tool today:
How does ClickUp help in mind mapping?
ClickUp’s Mind Maps help you transform your thoughts into beautiful free-form Mind Maps.
You can create Mind Maps for all your projects and creative ideas in no time!
ClickUp offers two modes for mind mapping:
A. Tasks mode
In the Tasks mode, you can map out the structure of your workspace for all existing projects. Rearrange, create, delete, and filter tasks to form a logical path quickly. This way, you get a good idea of how all your existing projects are connected to one another.
Here’s how you customize your mind map in the Tasks mode:
- Select a List node and click + to add a new task
- Apply filters to view only the required branches
- Grab the branch’s diamond to move a task from one list to another
Note: The diamond appears after clicking on the branch.
B. Blank mode
Use this mapping app’s Blank mode to create a mindmap from scratch, independent of the existing task structure. Then easily convert any of the reference nodes into a task.
In the Blank mode, you can:
- Create or delete a node by using the node toolbar or your keyboard
- Move a node and its connected branches by simply dragging it to any other node
- Use Re-layout to automatically arrange all the nodes
ClickUp lets you publicly share your mind maps with anyone outside your Workspace, helping them view and stay updated on how projects are progressing.
But creating mind maps isn’t the only amazing feature that ClickUp offers.
This mind mapping software offers tons of other features, like:
- Docs: easily create, share, and store documents with your virtual or in-house team
- Notepad: a personal notepad to quickly write down anything
- Proofing & Annotation: easily add comments to PDF files and images
- Dashboards: visualize and track your project progress with Agile charts like Burndown, Burnup, Velocity, and a Cumulative Flow Diagram
- Tasks, Subtasks, Checklists: split your projects into smaller tasks and subtasks. You can also add task checklist items for complex topics and tick them off as you progress
- Multiple Assignees: assign more than one team member to any task
- Workflow Automation: automate repetitive tasks with 50+ pre-built workflow automation commands. You can even customize and build your own automated workflows
Mapping your ideas can be incredibly rewarding.
It’ll help you easily outline all your ideas to plan your projects better.
And the more thought-through your plan is, the fewer number of bottlenecks you’re bound to face.
Luckily, you don’t have to be Dr. Strange to create a mind map!
Just follow the steps we’ve mentioned here to create a mind map easily.
And while you could do all this with a pen and paper, why would you when there’s dedicated mind map software like ClickUp?
ClickUp has the right set of features to support all your mind mapping requirements (and more)! From project planning and documentation to process automation, ClickUp is here to help you be more productive!
So why not sign up for free today and mind map the perfect path for your next big idea?
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.