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Creative Notes: Mind Maps

mind_map_topI’m a big fan of Mind Maps, as popularized by Tony Buzan. Mind maps are a way of taking notes that allows you to engage your capacity for creativity. This is how I take notes when I feel like doodling or brainstorming.

I prefer using a pencil and paper or perhaps a drawing app on my IPad. Paper is my favorite app (not affiliated). I’ve tested out a few different mind map software applications, but I haven’t been impressed with any yet.



This type of note taking has been scientifically proven to increase retention of ideas, mostly due to increased focus. You have to pay attention to what’s going on if you want to take the ideas you’re hearing and change them into pictures. The mind map uses connections, similar to how your brain connects related material. You connect ideas to related ideas. You write down a word or short sentence to describe your notes and you can include a drawing that depicts the ideas. Then sub-points to an idea branch out from the original ideas. Let me show you an example.



In this mind-map, I began with peak learning and drew mountains to represent peak. Then I moved onto the first major connection: “Improving the Physical Brain.” I drew a brain as the picture to go along with this idea. Then I had three connections around that idea: “The Neuron,” “Focus,” and “Nutrition.” Each idea had a corresponding picture. Nutrition also has additional connections. 

I think you get the idea. You can take this note taking idea one step further by adding an index as described in advanced note taking. I often start with a mind-map and offload brainstorming or notes into a simple list to input into my excel workbook or Evernote. This will help to keep all your ideas, notes, and actions in a single place so you won’t lose any of them. I’ve

Tip: I especially enjoy mind maps when taking creative notes. If you’re a graphic artist, a painter, or artistically inclined, you can sketch notes on a white notepad, and offload your sketches straight into your computer using a scanner or camera.

But that’s not all you can do with mind maps. Try to think of larger pictures or themes that you can incorporate into your connections. Perhaps create a tree, a vine, or a plant where each branch is a unique connection. Why not weave a spider’s web, sculpt a building, or draw sports-themed pictures? Make the mind maps your own and be creative. I’ve found that mind maps have improved my creative thinking and my ability to draw.

This concludes my article on Mind Maps, I hope you enjoyed it. Send me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like to talk more in-depth about our articles. I especially would love to hear what other topics you’re interested in.