What is mind mapping?

Notes, Tasks and Links

Mind mapping is a visual technique for organizing information, based on how our mind works. You arrange notes and ideas around a central topic, in a tree-like structure. It’s basically notes and sub-notes in a graphical form.

Instead of writing in a linear flow, mind mapping gives you a canvas where you lay all your notes side by side. This way of organizing things makes it easy to spot hidden connections or missing parts. You can also easily edit or insert notes anywhere in a map. You can see the whole picture at a glance, hence summarizing and reorganization comes naturally.

You can focus on the big picture, or zoom in and only focus on details, making it a great way to think through problems or complex subjects.

Use cases

A mind map can represent ideas, concepts, project requirements or simply a to-do list where you order to-dos by subject or context.

Business wise, you can use mind mapping to prioritize which task to work on and when. It gives you a birds eye view of the whole project, allowing you to jump from section to section in case you have to wait for some tasks.
+ Brainstorm new ideas, move to structure, flesh them out, rearrange, edit and export.
+ Break down big jobs into smaller and smaller tasks, and final actionable steps.
+ Research and collect information, and structure loose data.
+ Communicate strategies and plans in a visual and compelling way.
+ Get an instant visual picture of the project’s progress.
If you are a visual person but Kanban boards don’t give you enough flexibility, mind maps are a great solution as portable whiteboards, just give it a try.

They are also useful while studying. Break down complex subjects into manageable chunks and recall them easily.
+ Organize your notes by subject areas, and see the connections between different parts.
+ Summarize books or outline essays and articles.
+ Remember material from presentations or podcasts.
+ Quickly review the main points before an exam.

On a personal level, you can use mind maps to collect inspiration quotes, pictures, or keep a journal.
+ Build personal development plans and pinpoint goals.
+ Create travel plans for an upcoming vacation.
+ Create todos and reusable checklists.

More than a tool, it's a process.

A big part of the usefulness of mind maps is creating them. When you make the decision about what to put where and how to split the information, this is what helps you to understand and master the subject.
The process of creating the mind map shows you hidden connections and missing parts, and often new ideas and insights come along the way.
Its easier to see how things connect and influence when you have them all in front of your eyes, arranged up-down left-right.

Rules

A mind map is informal and there are no strict rules. Tony Buzan popularized them in the '70 as a learning tool and touted some rules like short keywords, organic lines and pictures association.

While useful for learning, mind maps are much more than that. Steer clear of the traditional view that mind mapping is mainly about inspiration and creativity. It's also a powerful tool for managing information overload, planning and implementing projects and taking better decisions.

Having ideas chunked into smaller parts is fundamental to mind mapping technique.
Start with a main idea then branch out connected ideas, fleshing out more and more details. Combine words, pictures and colors to summarise and express complex information in a visual way.
As best practice, decide on a color scheme and use it consistently. For instance, in a to-do list, choose colors for Urgent, Important and Waiting.

How can Escape help you

With Escape, you can organize notes with simple drag & drop gestures, and easily create parent and child topics as needed. You can collapse things to the highest level, or view a large hierarchy by expanding subtopics. You can also add longer notes, web links and email addresses to topics, annotate images, or create tasks.

Since mind maps are basically outlines in graphical form, we built in a full featured outline mode. You can switch freely between mind map and outline mode and retain all the information in the map.

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