Mind mapping is a spatial way of breaking down complicated and complex ideas into actionable and digestible parts. According to a 2010 study published by Kings College London, “concept mapping can be used to transform abstract knowledge and understanding into concrete visual representations that are amenable to comparison and measurement.” They call this process meaningful learning where the degree of integration between new material and extant parts of the prior-knowledge structure were recombined to make new meanings.
Mind mapping for work
On average, mind mapping helps professionals and C-suite executives to be 20-30% more productive in their work. The results sustained themselves through three surveys over a period of 8 years and it is now widely quoted by developers of mind mapping software. The reason behind the life-changing result is because learning is never linear.
As you navigate your way through work, you want to always keep your project’s goals in mind while having the chance to pick them apart into smaller components. Breaking down goals into actionable components has always been important because you want a great plan that could minimize possible errors. Yet, diving too much into the details risks you losing track of the project’s main goal.
Mind mapping, then, could help you in at least three ways to improve your productivity and quality at work. First, it helps you memorize what you have written down more efficiently. Second, you will not miss any connections in between meetings because mind mapping lets you draw annotations as you progress. And last, when you are not busy typing down meticulous notes, you can actually pay attention to the speaker and start asking meaningful questions that could deepen your understanding of the materials being discussed at hand.
Justin Sung, an ex-medical doctor and co-founder of iCanStudy, has come up with the ultimate method to amplify your learning experience by doing mind mapping correctly. The mnemonic GRINDE stands for Grouped, Reflective, Interconnected, Non-verbal, Directional, and Emphasized. By following these steps, mind mapping would no longer be as ineffective or boring as it used to be.
Grouped means that for every idea that you want to put on your mind map, you have to categorize them into various groups and boxes that allow you to simplify knowledge. So, instead of learning 10 different new things, you can organize them into 3 categories that help you draw similarities among this new information.
Reflective, Non-Verbal and Emphasized are methods of mind mapping that reflect whatever that is going on in your mind when you are absorbing new information by using visual cues that help you memorize them. Most of the time, we learn by imagining a situation where the new knowledge could be applied in real life. Then, your mind map should reflect that instead of simply writing paragraphs of linear sentences. This could mean drawing sticky men or other visual cues that could emphasize the new set of information so it could be more digestible.
Interconnected and Directional are the next steps in the mind mapping process where we start processing the new information we have successfully put into groups. In this part, you are going to draw flowing connections between groups, usually through a cause and effect relationship. This prevents knowledge to be isolated because isolated knowledge is the easiest to forget.
Writing down paragraphs has always been our habit since early school time. While mind mapping is somewhat an unconventional way of taking notes, it could always be the better alternative. Grinding yourself into creating a new habit is always going to be challenging. But, weighing on how much mind mapping can and will help you in the future, it is definitely something that is worth a try.
Another article on the productivity series: The Ivy Lee Productivity Method that Worth $450,000