When you should believe some people, the advantages of mind mapping are huge. It would almost sound like that mind mapping is the cure for every information related problems and probably all other problems in the world as well. In this article I want to give you insight in the real advantages and educate you on the things you may hear which are not entirely true. By the way, when you want to learn more on mind mapping, have a look here.
Most Advantages of Mind Mapping Are Exaggerated
Depending on how much you know about mind mapping and how much time you spend with the ‘true’ hard-core mind map followers, you may have heard that the mind map:
- is the one thing that can handle all your information management needs
- helps you to remember much more in a fraction of the time
- is really easy to use and is practically created by itself
Although these 3 statements are in some form true, they are making things better and bigger than they really are. I would like to discuss these with you and give you real life thoughts that actually make sense.
1 Cure For All Information Management Needs?
Sure… there is of course one cure, but this cure is that you think before you act. The mind map is just another method for looking at your same old information and find different angles or ideas because you organize the information differently.
When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you only use a mind map you will see that you can do many things with it. That doesn’t mean it is the best tool for the job.
Sometimes you can use a mind map, other moments you use a flowchart, a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation. It just depends on the situation, audience, etc.
Real Advantage: Mind mapping is A cure for a certain type of information management needs, but definitely not all!
Mind Map Help You Remember Much More
True, a mind map stimulates your brain differently than normal linear notes. But still, it also depends on the type of person you are. When you like structure and ‘normal’ linear thinking, you probably like your current notes better and a mind map will drive you insane. The structure and content of a mind map may be too much for you. At least that is what I found out when asking the thousands of people I worked with who wanted to learn about learning faster.
Besides that, you should not expect miracles of a mind map in terms of time for the start. Sure, pictures are in general easier to remember, but a mind map constructed inefficiently will not help you study faster. And it does take time to learn how to create a good and working mind map.
The right mind map does give you a deeper and faster understanding in study material and can help you.
Real Advantage: Mind maps make studying easier and more fun, but not for everybody. It may take you the same amount of time to remember the information, yet it will often be locked into your brain longer than it used to.
Mind Maps Practically Create Themselves And Are Easy To Use
Oh my… what I’ve seen with people who wanted to learn how to mind map and created their first mind maps… Often this is not really what they thought it would be.
Your first maps won’t be perfect. Probably it will be far from that. But that’s OK. Your mind learned to create linear notes and used them for decades probably. Now it is time to change habits and thinking patterns and that takes time.
Although the ‘rules’ of mind mapping are easy, it does take some time and effort to create maps that are good.
I always say that everybody can create a mind map, but that there is a different between a map, a good map and a map that actually does the trick.
Make sure you find a good trainer who assists you in creating maps that work. In my courses, the part where we discuss maps and where we work on the map structure and content is what is appreciated most. Not the first draft and adding nice pictures and colors.
Maps don’t create themselves. You have to do the work. This will become easier and go faster, yet that takes time.
Real Advantage: Your mind map instructor will help you to understand how YOU can create practical and useful maps. Then mind mapping becomes easier. The map will never create itself.
The Real Mind Mapping Benefits
You will really benefit from a mind map when you allow yourself to first think about what you want to accomplish and then PERHAPS use a mind map.
When you do that, you will start to benefit from a mind map even before you start working on it.
It is true that a mind map helps you to overview things faster and easier. After all, you have all your information on a single sheet of paper (or on your screen). This gives you a good overview of everything at a glance.
When you are mind mapping, you will probably think a little better about what you write in your mind map. This helps you to understand the content better and focus really on the key points.
Normally, when you write your notes in a linear format, the number of words is about the same as the number of thoughts you have. You might be scared that you forget things or can’t remember the context of things later on.
A mind map offers structure and few words. This is an ideal combination when you first think and understand what you are working on, and then write it down.
The Biggest Advantages Of Mind Mapping For You
Hmm, this is kind of tricky because it depends on the stage you are in your work. In the beginning, when you create the mind map, you think better before you write things down. This helps you to focus and understand the work better.
When you organize the map, you enable yourself to create a deeper understanding of the work or topic.
And the moment you use the map, you maintain a perfect overview of the ideas, thoughts, concepts and structure of what you are working on.
For me, of these 3 points, I would say that the focus and improved thinking is the most important advantage of mind map usage. This is where it all starts. Even if you don’t use the mind map later on, you will still benefit from it.
And as you know, having a perfect overview or understand things better completely depends on the material you have to work with. As you can see (again) preparation is key (or king).
It is important you know that mind mapping advantages and disadvantages exist and you can use them always to your own advantage. Make sure you think about the scope of the work/project and if you really need a mind map for that. Many times you don’t need to create a huge map and you are done faster with a simple to-do list.
For most people there is a think line between mind map advantage and disadvantages. For some a disadvantage is actually an advantage (spend more time on a map to make it prettier so I can remember the content better vs spending too much time on a map that only needs to create structure and overview).
Understand them and know what you want to do. The moment you do that, you will be able to take full use of the advantages of mind mapping.