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The internet is full of amazing tools to help you in your career as an online freelancer.

One such tool is a mind map. A mind map is a graphical representation of your thoughts. You’re probably familiar with brainstorming flowcharts, simple illustrations of a flow of ideas on paper or spider diagrams.

Mind mapping is, therefore, a graphical way of representing ideas and concepts using visual tools. These tools help structure information, analyze, process and generate better ideas or solutions.

These are all mind-mapping tools that help you visualize your thinking and help you remain productive and meet those deadlines.

Information on a mind map is presented in a similar way that the brain works. And since mind mapping involves both analytic and artistic functions, it engages the brain on a deeper level. 

That is why mind mapping unlocks more of the brain’s ability to process information.

Tony Buzan is the man we have to collectively pay homage to for making our lives easier when it comes to mind mapping. The practice has become mainstream among business people, individuals, professors, and their students.

person seated the table while working
Source: Unsplash by Etienne Boulanger

When to Use a Mind Map

As a freelancer, there’s an unlimited number of ways mind maps can be utilized to process information. For this article, we’ll look at ten ways anyone can benefit from using mind mapping apps.

1. Manage Meetings

Mind maps make the best meeting agenda formats. The minutes are arranged around the meeting subject, the details then branch out in nodes.

There are company meetings that rarely adhere strictly to the set agendas. Because of this, it is hardly practical to capture the details with linear note-taking. 

Mind maps, on the other hand, will capture all the ideas traded back and forth, along with countless feedback. 

Ditch that word processor for a mind mapping app and you may well start enjoying those Monday morning meetings. 

For remote collaborations, you can send out the meeting map via mail or file transfer. 

To use a mind map in a physical meeting, display it on a screen where all the participants can see and discuss the points.

Some mind mapping apps like MindMeister allow real-time remote collaborations on the app.

2. Liven up Your Brainstorming Sessions

The idea behind brainstorming has always been to create a safe space for the free flow of ideas.

As a result, most of the ideas collected from a session do not make any sense. Mapping these ideas out and the concept behind each one turns them into something meaningful.

The graphical interface on mind mapping apps is a trigger for creativity.

Because ideas are presented in a non-linear manner, users are motivated to fill the map with more items.

The fun in using mind maps for a brainstorming session is the fact that ideas flow freely, and you can establish connections between spatial objects.

men's gray crew-neck
Source: Unplash by Jud Mackrill

3. Project Management

When you use mind mapping for project management, you can add your team members, assign tasks, and check on the progress.

Have the main project as the starting idea on the map, then have branches for budget, resources, scope, people, and deadlines.

4. Make Presentations

Mind mapping is replacing Powerpoint in the boardroom. The entire premise of mind maps is based on presenting information. 

You do not have to export your mind map onto Powerpoint as is it is restricted to a cumbersome 2D formatting.

5. Situational Assessments

Situational assessments comprise of the systematic process of gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, and then presenting information, to guide planning decisions. 

Even though you are working from home, you will likely be working within an online team or community. A mind map allows you to view a problem from all possible angles and get everyone’s input. This makes mind mapping apps a great choice for anyone working in a collaborative online environment.

6. Taking Notes

Plan your notes in a mind mapping app for school, work, and everyday tasks that require you to memorize.

Keeping your notes in a mind mapping format you can easily transition from your to-do list into your ideation process. Starting with a mind map, you have already gathered your ideas and plans for your project and compiled them neatly in one place.

The Power of Mind Mapping.
Image courtesy

7. Information Management System

People with busy schedules need mind maps to schedule, organize their activities and follow the progress of events in their work calendar.

Decision-making processes are guided by weighing pros and cons against each other. A mind map is essential in listing the factors under consideration and showing alternative courses of action.

A mind map can also be your knowledge bank where you centralize information from different sources on a particular subject.

When you want to review this information later, it will be faster to retrieve everything from one place.

8. Studying With Mind Maps 

College students have devised two effective study techniques with mind maps.

The first method is to take notes during lectures and study sessions.

The second one is to schedule and prepare for assignments and exams. In this map, you can add the dates, links to reference materials, websites, etc. 

Once you break down your revision schedule, it is easy to overcome the fatigue and panic that comes with exams.

Other ways you can use mind maps to study include:

  • Brainstorming with classmates for a presentation or projects
  • Illustrating your research findings
  • Planning your essay and complex academic topics
  • Summarising a book
  • Learning a foreign language 

Studies show that mind mapping facilitates understanding of information, therefore reducing study time.

9. Presenting With Mind Maps

Once you know how to create a mind map, presentations will become a walk in the park. The only thing to remember when you are making a presentation is NOT to export the map to Powerpoint!

The stress of creating numerous linear Powerpoint slides is probably the reason why such sessions are dreaded. Mind maps bring in the fun and arouse more engagement with your listeners.

A map will show the overview and the details in one slide. The primary subject lets the audience know the topic you are exploring for the session. The branches, with elements and keywords, show how different items relate to each other.

Presentations with a mind map are excellent for addressing a broad audience in conferences, lectures, and training sessions.

10. Problem-Solving With Mind Maps

When we are confronted with a complex problem to solve, the mind either freezes or goes into panic mode. None of these reactions are ideal if one is to get into the correct frame of mind to analyze a complicated scenario.

It takes superhuman effort to force your brain to do something and get any substantial rewards. Mind mapping takes care of this situation. The most popular approach to problem-solving is 5W+1H.

Any problem can be mapped by answering these six questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?

As you expand each section from the center by answering the Ws and the H, the relationships between the answers become apparent.

Once you are able to see the cause and effect between each subject, it is easier to come up with a solution.

11. Planning With Mind Maps

At this point, you now know that you can plan anything using a mind map. Whether it’s the most straightforward house party to the most complicated biosafety plan, mind mapping will efficiently handle both.

Mind mapping makes it simple to jumpstart the planning process by breaking down the end-goal into actionable-sized bits.

This process is what triggers creativity, and the resulting flow of ideas is captured on the map. Once you have all the ideas, you can weigh your options to find the best course of action and turn those ideas into tasks.

Use Mind Maps in Your Online Career

Any task that involves thinking and learning can be accomplished better with a mind map; making presentations, solving problems, and setting goals.

The hardest part of any process is getting started, so, once you start, that’s half the work done. The other half, you accomplish the easy way with a mind map. 

Now that you’re an expert in the creation and benefits of mind maps, you can use your skills to jumpstart your online career as a freelancer.

Small Revolution offers countless resources, from articles to courses, all aimed at helping you grow your online freelance career.

Photo by Peoplecreations / CC BY

Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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