Mind Mapping: An Easy, Fun Way to Organize your Goals and Ideas
Mind mapping is one of the most fun ways I’ve found to organize my thoughts. It allows you to take an idea and run wild with it. If you are like me, It will take you places you never expected to go. Basically it is taking one subject and building on it, flowing with it all on a ‘map’ or chart.
You can do one by hand, though you might want a very large piece of paper. I prefer to use an app. You’ll find plenty of different ones available, several for free. I use a free app called “xMind” that was recommended to me. SimpleMind and MindMaple both have free versions. For my use, the basic ones do all I need. With an app, you have access to several templates. I’ve tried a few, but always go back to the basic one, so I can do it myself. Here is an example of one for goal setting.
Let’s say you want to set up a new website. This was how I was able to focus in on my own. The domain or subject would be the center. Then each leg would be the sections you want to include…such as Blog, Store, Miscellaneous Pages you need…
You might have a site that would include a variety of topics such as travel, cooking, books, photography…include a leg for each of those. You can add or delete any time, so just start and go where it takes you. Once you have some of the basic legs, start adding sub topics on those. For instance, on Misc pages, you might want contact page, about page, disclosure page, etc. From each of those you can have subtopics that get as specific as you choose.
When you get to the other pages, the fun begins. On a travel section, you cou add sub topics for each area depending how many you plan. For instance, you might have Europe, Canada, US, and so on. From each country you can have legs to particular states or cities you want to include. Then sub topic off that and within each of those you can include things to do, places to stay, etc. Then sub topic to writing ideas you want to include. By the time you are done coming up with ideas you will have the site designed and ready to put together. When I did mine, it sparked more ideas than I knew I had. It was surprising how many topics came to mind as I wrote. I still have articles to write from that first mapping session.
You can see how detailed you can make it. Below is a screenshot sample for a website, just to show you the directions you can go with it. Whether you want to go big or narrow it down to a narrow niche, you can have several legs that will show you what you need to do. I did one for a book one time. By the time I was done playing around with it, the ideas were there. I knew what I had to write, what I wanted to include. I could even reorganize the chapter right on the map when I wanted to.
I find it ideal for goal setting too. One thing always suggested for goals is that you break it down into actionable steps. A mind-map makes that so easy with the sub topics
Really it works well for any planning. You can start with a general map, then when you see an area you want to focus on, you can set up a second map if you feel you need more space. For instance, if you took the recipe section on the Website sample, it would be easy to fill an entire map with sections such as soup, main dishes, desserts, and so on, then in the sub category type in the names of the recipes you want to include. Once you have the names, add a sub topic showing whether you have a photo or need a photo. Put an ‘x’ or a checkmark by them when you have them finished. You might find you have a cookbook before you are done.
I hope this shows you how useful you will find this process. Whenever I feel stuck on a project and need to refocus, I refer to my mind maps. I’ll start adding steps I need to take and soon I am back on track, even excited about it. It’s highly recommended. Start the new year off in the direction you choose to go. By the way, have fun with it. It’s quite freeing!
If you would like to read more tips to help you refocus, check out this article: 7 Tips to Help You Refocus Your Mind When You are Overwhelmed
Here is a screen shot of some of the templates available on xMind.