As you add information and data to your mind maps, they can quickly become cluttered, inhibiting your ability to find the information you need. Different types of information become mixed together, making it harder for you to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Here are 8 tips to help you ensure that your mind maps are lean, mean action machines.
1. Turn action items in your mind maps into tasks. Add start and end dates, percentage completion, level of urgency and other meta-data to these tasks, to help you drive your project forward efficiently.
2. Add priority symbols (1,2,3 or A,B,C) to topics that are the most important. This will make it easier for you to visually scan the contents of your map and pick out the most critical bits.
3. Schedule alarms on important topics. Alarms enable you to forget about an upcoming event until just before you need to remember it – freeing up more of what productivity expert David Allen calls your “psychic RAM.”
4. Use color, shapes, boundaries and other visual techniques to add emphasis to your map’s most important content. If you create a mind map that is only black and white, everything looks the same. You need to incorporate visual cues into your maps to help you quickly decode its meaning – and to make it more meaningful to others.
5. Use your program’s project management features to delegate tasks to your team members and to track their progress during the course of your project’s implementation.
6. Divide a large, complex mind map into several linked sub-maps. Consider moving all background or supporting information into a sub-map, as well as any information related to future project phases. Just the current segment of the project should remain in the main mind map, which will help you to keep focused on what you need to do now.
7. Connect all supporting information to your mind map as attachments or links. They function like shortcuts and will help you to keep everything you need just one click away.
8. Divide the content of your mind map into main branches for informational topics, ideas and action items. Visually segmenting your information in this way will help you to skim your mind map and zero in on the key pieces in which you’re interested.
Do you have any suggestions how how to make mind maps more action oriented? Please share them in the comments area below!