Just staring at a blank piece of paper or a whiteboard? Mind mapping makes many tasks easier, but sometimes you may find yourself staring at a map unsure of where to go with it. If this is you right now, here are 4 ways to get over your mind mapping hesitation.
1: Ask Questions – Lot’s Of Them
A great way to get out of any kind of block is to ask questions. Take an item on your mind map and throw one of the 5 Wh’s and 1 H at it – who, what, when, where, why, or how. Answering this question may open a door to a new point of view.
2: Chunk It Up Into Digestable Bites
You may feel blocked because your mind map is either losing its focus or becoming too unruly. In this case, you should cut a section out of your mind map and save it for the next one. If one branch starts to get off target and no longer relates directly to the central theme, it’s time for a new map.
3: Add Some Blank Topics For Future Use
When you know there are more branches but you’re not sure of what they are, go ahead and make blank topics. Draw a few empty nodules and save them for when the ideas come to you. I have found that just the visual experience of seeing these empty branches is all it takes to get the ideas flowing again.
4: Walk Away – At Least For A Short Time
You may just need a break. Sometimes when you work intensively on a mind map or any focuses mental activity you burn yourself out. A few minutes away from the computer may be the refresher you need. If possible, set your mind map aside overnight. When you come back to it, new ideas will reveal themselves to you.
If still stuck, it can be helpful to go to a different room or building and then open your mind map up and take a fresh look. I have had many breakthroughs by packing up and driving to a Starbucks and a new environment.
The more mind maps you complete, the less likely you will experience hurdles to completion. Create what you can while the ideas are flowing, and then save your work. That is why doing your mind map work on a computer or tablet makes sense due to the ability to save your work You don’t want to take the chance to walk into a conference room the next morning and see your whiteboard masterpiece erased and lost forever.