Before you start creating your mind map, it is essential to know what the purpose of your map is. Is it for personal use or to be presented to other people? In the first case, a handmade, very personal card may be very suitable, the only person having to understand it being you. In the second case, however, you must take care that your card is clear enough to be understood by other people. The use of software may facilitate readability. It is therefore necessary to define for whom; your card will be intended.

Then clearly define what the subject of your card is, what is your central idea, the what. The center of the map (or heart of the map) will represent your main idea.

Also think about the Why

Why do you want to create this card? Is it to take notes on a subject you want to memorize? In this case your mind map should contain information facilitating memorization and contain the necessary information according to the level of detail you need. The use of the mind map software comes essential here.

Is your intention to develop a maximum of ideas around a subject (brainstorming)?

In this case, you will have to let your imagination run wild and write down all the ideas without restraint, your brain will have to be in “idea generation” mode. If however your mind maps are intended

You can also ask yourself the question

When. When are you going to use your card? Every day, to follow your progress on your tasks for example.

Also think about the questions where and how, if for example you have to present your map, how are you going to do this, by distributing the printed map to each person or making a presentation with Mind Mapping software?

To define the purpose of your card, ask yourself the questions Who, What, When, Where, How, Why.

The material

As previously mentioned there are two ways to create a mind map, either by hand or using software. For a card made by hand, you will need a sheet of paper (preferably non-lined, not squared) in A4 format, or better still A3, as well as colored pencils or markers. You will not use the sheet in portrait mode as we conventionally do to take notes linearly, but in landscape mode, which allows us to include more information and to have a format closer to our field of view.

To create a mind map using software, you will need Mind Mapping software

There are a multitude of them, some free, others paid. To start, I advise you to use a free version, such as Mind for example, or to download a trial version before buying a product. Indeed, in this plethora of software dedicated to Mind Mapping, although they have all the basic functionality to create maps, some functionality depends on the editors, such as presentation functionality, export formats, mode views planning (Gantt chart), etc.

So test before buying, to see if the product corresponds to your use of Mind Mapping. To get started, use the free version of Mind. Whether for a map produced by hand or on a computer, the principles of mind mapping that we will see remain the same.

The environment

The environment in which we are greatly impacts our creativity and our concentration. In a noisy place, surrounded by distractions (TV, radio, e-mail, social network, smartphone, clutter on the desk,), we easily lose our focus on our task.