Mind Mapping: The Art of Shaping Ideas

As entrepreneurs we have so many great ideas that it’s hard to keep up with them all. Every day, you may find yourself writing out new concepts, making lists of new things you want to accomplish, and jotting down great ideas for another day. If you’re like me, then you have notebooks filled with great ways to expand your brand and grow your business. But too often, these great ideas get trapped inside our notebooks, and pushed aside as new ideas arise.

A few years ago, my business partner introduced me to the concept of mind mapping, and it continues to help me clear my head and run my business in a more productive way. Mind mapping is a note-taking tool that helps organize your thoughts, enhance your ideas, and strategically connect the dots in order to make your ideas real.

Mind mapping uses both the right and left sides of your brain to flush out the details behind an idea. Instead of just writing out your thoughts in paragraph form, this process requires you to start with one central idea, and create branches from one idea to the next, until you have a visual diagram that summarizes the complete idea in your head. As you create new branches of information, you are constantly asking yourself how is this new branch connected to the others, why is this component important, and how does this branch enhance the overall thought. Mind mapping is an interactive exercise that uses creative problem-solving skills to polish your ideas.

While there are online mind mapping tools and resources such as Mindjet, Mindmode, Mind Tools and Litemind, you really don’t need anything other than your pencil and paper to organize your thoughts. Start by writing the title of your main idea on the middle of the page. Draw a circle around the main idea. Create branches from the main idea to the related subtopics and facts. Then, create more branches from those subtopics, to other supporting information.

Keep expanding your map until the idea is completely out of your head. Allow yourself to be creative. Adding colors, pictures, and numbers will help you organize your thoughts, and make your idea easy to follow. Your completed mind map will help you see the big picture behind your idea, and motivate you to take the next steps to put your idea in motion.

Stop losing your great ideas! Any entrepreneur who’s serious about running his/her business more productively needs to explore the benefits of mind mapping. Take a look at a few examples and start crafting your own. Keep us posted on how mind mapping is working for you.

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