A lot of people write lists to structure and organize their thoughts. Don’t get us wrong we love lists too, but sometimes your thoughts don’t come to you bullet point ready. When we try to convert our thoughts into bullet points, we can lose a lot of information in the process. Mind mapping helps us follow our natural thought process via a visual organization chart. Projects and tasks can be complicated. There may not always be a straightforward or linear way of approaching work, so don’t use a linear list, use a mind map! Take notes, capture ideas, explore concepts, and break down information into a readily understood format with the help of this great productivity tool!

How do mind maps increase productivity?

Mind maps increase productivity in three main ways, through organization, visualization, and simulation.

1. Organization

Mind maps can make you more productive because they allow a controlled space for a free flow of ideas. Mind maps help you to stay focused. You can connect every idea, task, and subtask you have back to the general theme. Connections and links from idea to project help you to stay focused and stop you from wandering off in tangents. Mind maps help you to stay on topic because all ideas and thoughts have to connect back to the central topic.

2. Visualization

Close your eyes and think of an apple. What do you see? An image or a word? 90% of us see this:

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not this: Apple  We think in images not words. If you use images in your work you speed up the process. If you work in words and letters, your mind has to change them into images in your brain. If you work with visuals you can think quicker because you don’t have to spend as much time processing the information.

3. Stimulation

The right side of your brain controls creativity, emotions, and intuition. The left side of your brain is responsible for analytical thinking, reasoning, and logic. It would appear that business decisions require left brain thinkers, however difficult problems require innovative solutions. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of all great decisions. When creating mind maps both sides of your brain are working in symbiosis. You stimulate the parts of the brain which control intuition and logic. This way you can make well-rounded decisions.

When should I use mind maps?

Mind maps allow you to plan quickly. You could be thinking about something for weeks, but until you start writing it down your brain won’t manage the information effectively. Start with a blank page. Write down the topic. Start with about four subcategories and work from there. Ideas will begin to flow and your can structure and organize your thoughts into categories and subcategories. You remain focused because all of your thoughts link back to the general topic, so you never lose sight or waste time on tangents. You can use mind maps to plan almost anything. Here are a few examples:

Plan your week

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Put them all down and plan what you’re going to achieve every day. This won’t take you long at all. Have a clear agenda for the week.

Prepare for presentations

When you’re practicing a speech, don’t use flashcards use a mind map. It’s handy because it’s one page of information. It contains all the material you need so you can easily see how and why one idea leads to another. You’ll be able to remember the presentation better because you’ll have visual memories of your notes in your head.

Take notes

When you attend meetings or conferences, it can be hard to understand the scribbles on your jotter. Use a mind map and write down the key topics, themes, and words. You’ll be able to make connections and keep track of the meeting more effectively, and your notes will actually make sense to you the next day.

Brainstorm

The first stage of any project is brainstorming. The more effective your brainstorm is the more productive your work is. Brainstorming is a crazy process. It’s not always simple or linear – it’s complicated and scattered. You have so many ideas popping into your head and you must write them all down before their lost. Mind maps give you the opportunity to do this. Mind mapping is an excellent tool to use when brainstorming. The best way to problem solve is to use as much of your brain as possible. Mind maps engage both the left and right side of your brain. When you’re brainstorming you want to be creative and logical. Brainstorming and mind mapping fit perfectly together.

Conclusion

Mind maps are a very useful productivity tool. They’re easy to use. They don’t take long and they stimulate your brain. You can use them to plan just about anything. You can draw a mind map, use mind map computer software, or even build a 3D model map. The choice is yours. Why not give it a go? Create a mind map and send us in your photos. There may even be a prize for our favorite one! Do you like learning how to be more productive or collaborate better? Subscribe to the Teamwork.com High Performance Blog.