Do you waste time creating good looking mind maps?
Or do you go with the most basic version of your map, without any color or images?
A mind map offers nothing more than a different way of looking at your information.
Exactly this different viewpoint is what makes them so valuable.
But many people waste time on creating a good looking map. They find a way to procrastinate by focusing on the right images and the perfect color. This process takes too much time.
Today I want to help you fix a boring map into a more visually attractive mind map. All we do is make a few changes.
The simple solution to boring mind maps
At first, you start by adding information to your mind map. For example, you transform your book into a visual outline.
After you did that, you may end up with a map that looks like this:
Many people think this map is good enough. They don't want to spend too much time making it look good.
Some people feel the real mind mapping starts at this point. They want to create something visually attractive! They want to have more color and images.
Sure, you can do that. The problem is they waste a lot of time doing this. The added value of having these maps often isn't that big. They could better use most of that time to USE the map.
Here is how I would create a mind map that is interesting for your brain.
Step 1: Add body to the map
Normally mind maps have lines as branches. That is not brain-friendly. Give your mind map a little bit more body. Have a look at the video below how to do this in XMind:
Step 2: Add color to the map
Now that you have a more natural mind map, it is time for the second step. You add more color.
Most mind mapping tools give you a basic map with a grey or blue-ish color. That can be fine, but it does not offer a brain-friendly way of looking at your information.
The easiest way to change this is by selecting the branches and changing the color. Here's a quick video how to do this in XMind:
Note: You may need to select all nodes in your map to make this work. When you forget one node, the color might not change in your mind mapping software tool.
Your brain will like this change in color. It makes identifying branches and their content more recognizable. You will see in the blink of an eye that all information in one color is related.
Step 3: Add simple images
Don't look for perfection. You don't need to have a perfect picture for every branch.
To be honest with you... for my maps, I don't add images to clarify branches. Images I add are photos that add value.
A simple image like I've added to the map below doesn't add too much value. Make sure you need them to make the map better.
How I do this?
- For personal maps, I go to google and search for images
- I copy the image to my desktop
- Next, I drag the image into my mind map. (make sure to select a location in the map before you release the image)
Here is how I add the images to my mind map using XMind:
Here's another tip on images. Place your image not directly above the text. Your map becomes tall this way.
Most of the time images are extra. They aren't needed for a quick and simple overview. Adding images above the text stretches the map a lot. Use a small image next to the words.
Keep your mind maps simple.
Do it like this:
NOTE: Did you notice I removed the text in the center and replaced it with the image only?
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We all have many things to do. There is work, family, and then there is mind mapping. Do you have time to create a beautiful mind map?
But, mind maps should be different from your average notes. They have to stimulate your brain. You do want to have a look at them. Many mind mapping tools offer a grey-ish default map when you get started.
That is why you should add color to your map. It makes the mind map clear. You can do this by:
- Give body to the map (lines are thicker near the center of the map)
- Use different branch colors
- Add a small image to (some of) the nodes
Again, don't go overboard with the images! Be mindful of your time and the clarity of the map. There is often no need to add pictures.
When you do these three things, your maps will look better to your brain. You create clarity without wasting time.
If you have any questions about this, let me know. I look forward to seeing the maps you create!