What Is A Mind Map And How To Create One? (A Fun Guide)

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. 

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.

Sound confusing?

A mind map essentially consists of a key concept with tons of related ideas branching out from it. These maps are used for both in-house and remote project management and planning.

Sorta like Dr. Strange’s mapping of 14 million possibilities here:

dr strange gif

(Of course, our normal brains can’t comprehend this process!)

Let’s break it down.

Mind maps revolves around a few common characteristics:

  • The central concept is the main intention of the mind map
  • Subtopics flow from the central concept as branches
  • Each branch includes a key image or key word 
  • The branches from 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 between mind maps and concept maps.

Mind maps are 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 once.
  • 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. It’s basically an image of related thoughts and objects. (Check out these Matrix Org Chart Structures!)
  • 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 point at the center and lines that branch out to add more insights. Mind maps are actually a type of spider diagrams. 

However, this all still leaves one question unanswered… 

What is a Mind Map Used For?

A mind map can be used to visually connect ideas to a central concept helping with organization, problem-solving, project planning, and brainstorming. It is a powerful technique for students and professional project managers alike.

While mind maps are an intuitive tool for students and teachers, you’ll see them used by:

  • Product Managers
  • Project Managers
  • Human Resources
  • Web Designers

But really, they’re for anyone who has found success as a visual learner, or has found challenges picturing an image in their mind of how to bring a plan together.

An example of the mind map would look something like this image:

mind map for time management

Be sure to view more examples of mind maps in this article.

What Are The Benefits Of Mind Mapping?

 Mind mapping can help problem solving, project planning, creative thinking, memory, and a lot more!

Here are five of the big benefits of mind mapping:

1. Mind maps for aiding 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 brainstorm and 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:

  • Quickly narrow down any issues
  • Weigh all your potential options

Both of which contribute to the perfect solution!

2. Mind maps for simplifying project planning

Planning a project is no easy task. For that, you’ll need ClickUp’s Mind Maps.

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.

ancient one casting spells

But don’t worry!

Mind mapping (and using the right mapping software) is the modern solution to easy project planning. and can take your next brainstorm session to the next level!

Use the mind mapping technique to transform your related points and thoughts into simpler, systematic strategies. 

This not only ensures a steady start; it also provides an insight into problems that you could face in later stages. 

Learn all about mind mapping in project management.

3. Mind maps for fostering creative thinking

The wireframes of a mindmap form a spatial layout that provides a better overview or mental image of the main concept. It makes all the connections on the map more visible – much like the human brain itself.

The benefit?

As you’re able to view things clearly your brain makes room for thinking, opening up portals for an infinite number of related concepts helping you understand concepts you intended to map, and beyond!

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. This can help you brainstorm with ease.

And while it can’t help you rival Dr. Strange’s creativity and quick-thinking, it definitely helps you out!

Check out these Microsoft Word mind map examples!

4. Mind maps for improving 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 note taking 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 in your brain, your recalling power strengthens too.

5. Mind maps for making 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 hues, 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

That’s it?


After you’ve made the basic layout of a mind map, make sure you implement these steps:

  • Use different shades, 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 pigments 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 do so. 

And while using pen and paper or Excel to create a mind map 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!

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 make Mind Maps for all your projects and creative ideas in no time! 

ClickUp offers two modes for mind mapping:

A. Tasks mode and Customizing Mind Maps

In the Tasks mode, you can map out the structure of your workspace for all existing projects. Rearrange, add, delete, and filter tasks to forge 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 mind maps 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.

diamond on a mind map

B. Blank mode

Use this mapping app’s Blank mode to add a mindmap from scratch, independent of the existing task structure. Then easily convert any of the reference nodes into a task.

With mind maps 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

Blank Mode Mind Map Example:

layout nodes in clickup

What’s more?

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:


Mapping your ideas when brainstorming can be incredibly rewarding. 

It’ll help you easily outline all your ideas to plan your projects better, and organizes note taking from anywhere.

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 make a mind map!

Just follow the steps we’ve mentioned here to create mind maps easily.

And while you could do all this with a pen and paper note making, why would you when there’s dedicated mind map software like ClickUp? Join us in note making bliss today!

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 use mind maps as the perfect path for your next big idea?

dr strange waving

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