Welcome to the Age of Information. Thanks to the internet and smartphone technology, we have the ability to learn everything from building a house from scratch to the Paleolithic era. But with great power comes great disorganization (not how the saying goes, but let’s roll with it). With knowledge on a million subjects in our heads, it’s hard to truly become an expert on any of the random information we’re learning every day. Information gets mixed around, dropped to make room for new information, or stored into a dusty corner of our brains. Sometimes the sheer amount of information overwhelms us to the point where we refuse to accept anything new. So, how do we manage all of this while keeping our sanity? Mind mapping, my friend.
What’s A Mind Map?
Mind mapping is a technique for taking all the random stuff in your brain and mapping it out (on paper, on a computer, on a board etc.) for easier retention. In fact, it’s very similar to how our brain already works. According to a study done by UC Berkley, each category of object or action that humans see – whether that be animals, houses, people, movements, etc. – is stored in the visual cortex as overlapping categories that cover nearly 20% of the brain. So we naturally mind map to retain as much information as possible.
Why Should I Consider Mind Mapping?
If our brains already mind map, what’s the benefit of taking the time to design our own mind maps? Remember when our teachers said, “writing down the things you hear helps you remember them later”? Turns out, seeing our thoughts on paper or in a virtual platform help us remember more useful information. When you hear information, it goes to the auditory part of your brain, but it’s much harder to filter out what’s important and what’s not in real time. When you write or draw out your thoughts, the spatial part of your brain kicks in, and you’re better at picking out information that is useful and relates to everything else you’ve learned. So to answer our original question, you should practice mind mapping as another tool to help you select, retain and use mostly the important stuff. It’s more productive.
How Should I Start Mind Mapping?
Select a Topic
When it comes to creating your first mind map, start with a topic. It could be anything (American Girl Dolls, veganism, skincare products, the 2020 NCAA basketball season etc.).
Vomit Out Everything You Know About That Topic
Once you’ve settled on a topic, make a list of everything you know and associate with that topic. For example, if you picked “Skincare” as your topic, write out all the brands, products, the benefits of each product, your specific skincare problems as a sort of stream of consciousness.
Start Making Connections
You’ll notice that as you create your list, you’ll be thinking of connections right off the bat. This is your natural mind map in the works! Try categorizing all the things you listed, and then drawing lines between things that relate regardless of categories. Pretty soon your map will be fully formed.
After you’ve done this exercise, take a moment to think about the topic once again. Do you feel like you have more of a grasp on the topic itself? Do you see connections between things you didn’t see before? We hope you do, but also understand that thinking and organizing this way takes practice.
Interested in taking mind mapping to the next level? Saganworks is a 3D spatial organization software designed to help connect your virtual files, whether that be pictures, PDFs, video or music files, together in physical space. Learn more.