Let’s explore five important reasons why you can or must stop mind mapping immediately. Even though many people are using mind maps to help them in business, in education, or at home, a large group continues to work on their map even if they should or can stop doing so. You will learn right now when you have to stop mind mapping and move on.
1. Stop mind mapping when you reach your goal or you find the answer
This must be the first reason to stop mind mapping, I think. The map served its purpose. The goal has been reached, the answer was found, the crisis was averted, you won, etc…
Among the reasons for people to stop creating their mind maps, this one is probably the least motivation for most novice mind mappers. They stop just before they are successful. Strange? Maybe, but really understandable.
They start mapping with a thought in mind that this is the one — this is the tool that will bring them success on a silver platter. But after a while, they stop because it seems like real work to do it. What happens is that they stop before they succeed.
When you use mind mapping and combine it with a clear strategy, you will see that it is really easy to plan, organize, capture, understand, and use information. When using a mind map properly, the answer is not that far away. When you know that and mind map right way, you will use this reason time after time as the one to stop mind mapping!
2. You understand the situation or problem
You’ve stumbled upon a difficult situation. This could be at work, during a personal crisis, or just something you don’t understand. What do you do? You create a mind map (of course).
The map can consist of branches that give you insight into different angles of the situation. For instance, you can have branches like:
What if I do nothing?
What can I do right now to solve this?
What is the logical solution?
What is the emotional solution?
Who can I ask to assist me?
Why am I in this situation?
Why do I allow this to happen?
What have I learned from this when I look back one year from now?
Put at least 3 different sub-branches next to all of these questions. Find at least those three answers. Most of the time you find the answer to understand your problem, and usually this happens while mapping out your situation. When that happens, I suggest you stop working on the map and start implementing what you’ve realized.
If you are still not successful, you can also take information from the map and put it in a new map. Don’t use the questions now for the different branches. Simply take the top 5 words that have the biggest impact on you from your first map and make these your new branches. Now add your thoughts on these powerful keywords and see what the result will be.
The reason this works most of the time is because you create a different angle on the same situation and, therefore, a higher level of understanding and clarity.
3. A better method for finding an answer came up
Hey… if there is a better way, you should make use of that. It could be that there is another tool or a person who can help you with this. If so, make sure you are not stuck in the mind map. Embrace the new opportunity.
Don’t just throw away your mind map yet. You don’t know if the other person wants to learn about your progress and insights. Also, if the other person or tool doesn’t turn out to be that big of blessing in disguise, you can always go back to where you were.
For most people, mind maps aren’t even the tools they should use. But since they’ve heard that a mind map can (or will) work miracles, they just use it. For instance, in keeping their agenda, they use a mind map. What do they do? They create a map with branches called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc… Really??? I am pretty sure there is a tool called agenda or calendar for that in Outlook or Google.
Every time you mind map, you should be objective in your approach.
By the way, you can always check your approach by sharing the map with other people and ask them if they think this is the right tool or method to use. They might know a better way for you to reach your goal. Or they may tell you something about your mind map that wasn’t very clear to you before. We could call this mind map blindness perhaps. :)
Anyway, you can recognize this from now on and stop mind mapping when you need to (or change your approach).
4. The map has served its purpose and is no longer useful
You know what? This can be really fast during the process of mind mapping thoughts, ideas, and information. I always say that a mind map is just another way of looking at the same information. Often, when you look at a piece of information differently, you might just get the insight you need to move forward.
Just outlining a situation, goal, or problem and planning it in a map creates a different perspective. Sometimes simply creating a basic outline creates so much clarity that it can help you arrive at a solution.
It is really important that once you’ve reached your goal or destination, you stop working on the map.
By the way… a quick tip for you: it is never about the map. A mind map is just a tool. Sometimes people lose track of their goal while mind mapping. They really want to create a beautiful map with lots of colours and images. They spend way too much time on the map itself and not on the reason for using a mind map. Just keep this in mind.
Again, stop mind mapping if the purpose is no longer there!
5. When the map is crap
My apologies that I write this so bluntly. But sometimes you just have to admit that a map is not working out for you. There could be many reasons for this:
Too much focus on the map and not the content
Focusing on the wrong topics
Too many branches, making the map blurry and unreadable
The map is too big, with too many details
The information is not properly organized
Whenever this happens, you have to act quickly. Figure out the cause of the crappy map and fix it. Don’t waste time on a map that is not working. You have many more important things to do.
Now it is time to take action and, perhaps, stop mind mapping
I would like to conclude by giving you a number of action points which will help you to determine if you are still in need of a mind map or if you, perhaps, need to change your approach.
Action point 1: Every day that you start mind mapping, look at the map and ask yourself: “Is this the right tool? Does it serve me best?” If not, change methods.
Action point 2: Different maps create different insights. Change the layout of the map to create a new understanding when dealing with a problem. Or ask a friend to examine the map and give you their findings in a new map.
Action point 3: Ask a mind mapping expert to have a look at your map. I often receive maps from my clients that won’t help them move forward. A fresh perspective and a few (important) changes often make a difference between giving up and achieving success!
Action point 4: Start using a mind mapping tool today if you are not doing that already.
I wish you lots of success in mind mapping, and remember to stop mind mapping if there is no need to continue doing it. :)