I create mindmaps practically every day, both for work (I typically write 5-10 blog posts a week) and for my personal life.
Watch the video below to see how easily I create a mindmap to write a blog post and turn it into an instant outline. I also demonstrate how to use a mindmap for project planning. Yes, you'll take a peek into an actual mindmap for a product launch 😉
A mindmap is a visual diagram. While people have been creating cognitive maps and visual webs for many years, it was Tony Buzan who coined the term “mind map” and taught people how to use it to improve learning and memory.
Mindmaps are used for different things, from learning to problem solving. I use it most to create content and plan projects.
Some guidelines to remember when creating your mindmaps:
The best way to mindmap is by hand. That way, you can draw small images and add lines to show relationships between ideas. Moreover, the writing action of your hand helps embed the concepts into your brain.
However, if you'd like to use mindmapping software, like I do in the video, two I've used are:
Both are available in free versions, with features that are robust enough for me. If you're looking for even more features, there are plenty of paid mindmapping software available.
Are you also a mindmapper? Feel free to show us your mindmaps by linking to them in the comments below.
Or do you have other mindmapping tips I haven't covered? Please do share them!
Or do you have any questions about mindmapping? Then post them in the comments below and I'll do my best to respond right away.
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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That’s so interesting Lexi, I’ve heard this mindmapping before but I’ve never really paid any attention to it. Now i see it can help one more productive.
Is that a software?
@Imie – Yes, Freemind and Mindnode are computer applications. But you could just sit down with blank sheets of paper and your favorite colored markers and start mindmapping immediately. Try it and let me know what you think 🙂
Love it, Lexi!
Thanks for the great video… and the great idea! I often doodle on paper when generating ideas. It seems that, for me, I have to “get the thoughts out” even while trying to get the thoughts out. Does that make sense? To do so I have typed, mind-mapped, written & doodled on paper, and even talked it out into a digital recorder. All these ways can be helpful, and the tool of choice usually depends on what kind of mood I am in.
I love the specific examples you give in the video. You inspired me to download the free version of MindNode to experiment. It seems to me that setting up templates for certain projects would really be helpful. Like a template for blog posts, a template for podcast episodes, etc. Thanks again, Lexi! Bon appetit!
@Jeff Young – “I have to ‘get the thoughts out’ when while trying to get the thoughts out” makes perfect sense to me, Jeff! All the tools you shared can work, depending on personal style. I’m not auditory myself, so recording my thoughts wouldn’t be useful for me. I hope you enjoy using MindNode!
That was a fantastic video, Lexi. I have been using mind maps since I got back from the NAMS conference last year. I really like how they just pull everything together. I do use Freemind so I’ll have to see how to export that outline. That was neat how you did that. I know I can export to a PDF so I’m sure there is a way to export to text.
I also use the iThoughtsHD for the iPad. It’s a paid app but it’s really good and I like to be able to just throw something in a mind map without being on the computer.
I have mind maps for daily to do lists, travel packing lists, my weekly workouts, weekly/daily business productivity plan, etc.
Just recently cleared off my desk and put TONS of sticky notes into a mind map (or in Evernote). Hey that would be another cool video if you don’t already have one on Evernote. Do you use it?
@Angie Newton – If you’re using the free version of Freemind, it’s a little bit more work to export it. You can’t export directly to a text file. You’ll have to export first to HTML. From that web page, copy and paste your text into your text or word processor.
I do have Evernote, but I don’t use it as much as I should and could. I know it’s got tons of features and I’m only scratching the surface. I’ll experiment with it some more and make a video when the time comes.
Thanks for stopping by!
Good stuff Lexi. I have Mind-Mapped for awhile now. Mostly I use the online site: http://www.mindomo.com. Easy and fun and no matter how you do it, definitely worthwhile.
I get a lot out of mindmapping as well. I used Freemind for years until someone pointed out the free version of Xmind. I like using keyboard shortcuts and Xmind makes it even easier than Freemind. For example, if you want to create a note in Freemind you have to use your mouse but Xmind has a keyboard shortcut. But, no matter what tool you use, it’s a pretty useful approach.
@Ben – Good point, Ben. It’s not the tool that matters, it’s the actual doing!
Hi Lexi, I love to create mindmaps for personal life, work, and blogging, too.
My favorite online mindmapping tool is Mindmeister. Here’s a mindmap I created on how to reach your full.
Oops, that link in my previous comment should have read: how to reach your full potential. Thanks!
@Rich – Pleased to meet a fellow mindmapper! And thanks for sharing your mindmap. It looks really good. It’s a good example of how one mindmap can communicate so much. Do you realize, you could write one blog post for each of your branches? Or use the mindmap to write an entire book. Yup, mindmaps are amazing 🙂
Hi Alexis, I found u through Marie Forleo comment box. I had to come say HELLO 🙂 I am glad I did.
I have not used mind-maps before. I lovewriting free-hand but I will try this. It sounds valuable and just like you I write about2-4 blogposts a week. I appreciate you sharing a wealth of information and I look forward to connecting with you here.
Thanks again for the all the great information. Pls say hi when you can.
Here’s my connection on FB just in case you happen to be logged on:
Lots of Love
@Therese Miu – Glad to connect with you, Therese! I hope you enjoy mindmapping and find it helps you with your blogging. Feel free to show me your mind maps when you’ve tried making some. Thanks for stopping by!
I mindmap on my ipad for product creation and sales letter planning. Wanted to watch your video but can’t (ipad) if this is on YouTube you should update your embed code… I’ll save this and watch it later though. Good article :). Ithoughts is my favorite software right now (cloud services +export in any format).
I personally LIKE mindmapping by hand better, but when it comes to speed of implementation it is faster for me to mindmap digitally then output an outline in word or output a PowerPoint slide deck that I can then work on, or even just talking through a mindmap on a screencast. Can’t beat paper for versatility and creativity but digital still wins for me :p