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How to Use Mind Mapping to Solve Problems, Questions or Figure Things Out

    • 1). Take a blank piece of paper and lay it on a flat surface in landscape orientation. Start with a central idea. This should represent the general idea you are currently mapping out. For example, this could be a goal, a decision you must make, or a creative idea you are working on. Write this word in the center of the page. Draw an image either around or next to the word that helps you visualize what you are thinking about, for instance a picture of a car, if you are deciding which automobile to buy.

    • 2). Draw arrows that branch from this central picture. Use different colors for each arrow. Each of these arrows should lead to a different main theme. Write out this theme in a box at the end of each arrow, using the same color as the arrow. Main themes should be thought of as chapter headers, or large ideas. If we are trying to decide which car to buy, we can start by listing out major car companies.

    • 3). Develop a second level of thought that is connected to the main themes. These can be ideas that are connected to the central idea, but are more strongly connected to a main theme. Draw arrows that branch out from the main themes to at least a few different second level ideas. Write these ideas smaller than main themes, to indicate that they are secondary.

    • 4). Draw arrows that branch out from second level of ideas and think of third or fourth level. These can be ideas that are only loosely connected to the central idea, but are connected to a main theme or second level thought. If you are still trying to buy a car, you may already be listing cars or even features of cars that appeal to you.

    • 5). Use different colors and arrows that branch out in different directions to make the map more dynamic. Use boxes to highlight the importance of certain ideas. For instance, if you have found that you really like one car that is one your list, enclose it in a box so that you will not forget it.

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