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The Power of Mind Map: Get More Things Done & Make Creativity Easy

The Power of Mind Map: Get More Things Done & Make Creativity Easy

You have a big project coming up, or a bunch of tasks, and are overwhelmed by the thought of it. This overload happens to me way too often,[1] but once I began using a mind map to clarify the direction, the project and tasks don’t seem so frightening.

Whatever your position or place of work is, it is natural that you will have more than one task to handle at any given moment. This could be due to hectic deadlines, a large project made up of many different tasks, or simply you’re loading more and more on yourself in hopes to get more done; how’s the latter been working out for you?

Prior to mind mapping, I jotted all tasks I knew of onto my notepad or in workflowy. On one hand, this is great for as you complete a task, you cross it over and have the amazing feeling of getting things done.[2] On the other hand, I continuously felt that I wasn’t getting ‘the right things’ done. I was crossing off tasks left and right, but are they in line with my overall goals and targets? Or am I just listing tasks in order to cross them off?

With a mind map, I had a more organized process to follow, which helped me avoid missing tasks, while also keeping in line with overall needs.

The Purpose of a Mind Map

Mind mapping is a simple organization process using diagrams to list the information, ideas, and details and assess the big picture.

You begin with a blank page, write the main subject, project, or idea in the middle of the page, and then like a web or branches, expand from it to additional ideas connected to it, and smaller branches to those connected to it, and so on. Think of a family or decision tree, but to help you organize a large project.

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How to Start Mind Mapping from Scratch

The best way to begin mind mapping is with a blank page. Write down the main subject in the middle and begin brainstorming and breaking it down into more-focused categories that aren’t as abstract. This can be done in your notebook, printer paper, as well as online solutions for those who cannot disconnect. (I will recommend some online tools later in this article.)

As you progress, you expand out more branches from the categories and subcategories, in order to make sure to ‘cross your t’s and dot your i’s’ and that nothing is forgotten.

Note: this is to organize project needs, not a manifesto which you begin attending every task within the map. In other words, if there is a branch under content for ‘product pages’, you don’t branch out and start adding the actual text/context of any specific page. We want to keep it clean and clear; completing individual tasks is external from the map.

Let’s take for example a project of a new website. Depending on your needs, this may be a simple or very complex project, but whatever your needs are, with a mind map, you can easily break it down.

You begin in the middle with the project “New Website” and can expand the various branches to it such as: “design”, “development”, “content”, and so on. But it doesn’t stop there, as each subject can be broken down further; with design, it can go into ‘specifications’ (wishes of the new site), ‘characterization’ (behaviors and experience), ‘branding’ (color schemes, themes, style) and much more.

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    Breaking down a main project into separate categories (and then sub-categories) allows us to take a huge project and make it digestible and tangible. What began as an abstract wish is now clear with real direction and is broken down into bite-sized tasks.

    From there, we can create a separate mind-map for each of the main categories to further clarify (if needed), as well as actually prioritize and set timetables to fit across complimentary and awaited tasks.

      What began as the preliminary plan of the new website design expanded to all various corners which go beyond design but the actual context as well, i.e new site content, and its own extension into type of content, such as product pages, company pages, support pages, blog and more.

      The mind mapping process allowed me to think bigger and organize the project a lot clearer, making sure I don’t proceed until the entire scope of the project is organized in front of me. From there, I prioritize the tasks, so I am well aware if any task is dependent on another, or is attended to in parallel to another, and where I stand in the entire process.

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        There are plenty of applications, sites, and more to get you on the mind mapping wagon. The latter may include various features such as color-coding, sharing/collaborating, linking (to notes, sites, imagery), design/style extras, and more bells and whistles to help you create the map needed to organize your thoughts, brainstorming, task breakdown and more.

        Whichever tool or mind mapping method floats your boat is great, but it is best to begin simple, realize the benefits, and only after such a process proves beneficial for you, then upgrade to all the extras.

        At the end of the day, mind mapping is aimed to help you organize thoughts, tasks, ideas, and such to get you closer to the main goal, which is getting things done. If the extra features are making your map prettier but don’r bring you closer to the goal, you haven’t yet benefited from such an amazing process.

        I found myself going back to Coggle, as it is very easy to use, the free offering would be sufficient for most, and collaboration is available to allow your team to expand. Still, a regular piece of paper offline always does the trick, granting your pen the freedom it deserves.

        The Power of Mind Mapping

        There are so many different tools, methods, processes, and more which individuals can use when attempting to organize their thoughts or brainstorm toward a new project. I find that mind-mapping is a very simple process to follow, and is rather natural to use and expand upon.

        Its practice helps the individual get the big picture visually and clearly without too much effort. Its flexibility makes it easy to grow, so we’re allowing ideas to flow while maintaining a singular focus which stares at you from the beginning to the end.

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        As always, adapting to a new tool or process isn’t an easy thing; you may realize the benefit but feel it is time-consuming and you could have already been submerged in the project, or you’re unable to clarify which is a category or a task, and more.

        I had some difficulties when I began to adapt to a freehand style and draw a diagram, rather than listing an outline on my computer. But as it clarified the project, organized my thoughts and tasks, as well as helped me avoid missing any crucial steps along the way, I was hooked.

        Since I began, I also realized that I am ending up getting more done, as every project is clear, all tasks listed, and I can better maneuvre through items and multi-tasks effectively (not just for the sake of multi-tasking).[3]

        I can take more upon myself, and while at it, complete things towards my goals and targets in a more effective and efficient way.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Eran Abramson

        Marketing at Knowmail

        Productivity Lessons from the Giants: Zuckerberg, Gates, Nadella, and Buffett The Power of Mind Map: Get More Things Done & Make Creativity Easy

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        Last Updated on September 24, 2020

        17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

        17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

        In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

        The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

        Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

        1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

        Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

        For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

        2. Use the Pareto Principle

        Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

        Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

        3. Make Stakes

        Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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        However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

        4. Record Yourself

        Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

        5. Join a Group

        There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

        6. Time Travel

        Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

        Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

        7. Be a Chameleon

        When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

        Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

        “Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

        Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

        8. Focus

        Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

        Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

        9. Visualize

        The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

        Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

        Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

        10. Find a Mentor

        Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

        Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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        If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

        11. Sleep on It

        Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

        Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

        12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

        Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

        His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

        Check out his video to find out more:

        13. Learn by Doing

        It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

        Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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        14. Complete Short Sprints

        Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

        One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

        15. Ditch the Distractions

        Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

        Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

        16. Use Nootropics

        Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

        Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

        Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

        17. Celebrate

        For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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        The Bottom Line

        Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

        More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

        Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

        Reference

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