Mind Map Rules

Although the two look similar, mind mapping is not brainstorming.

Brainstorming is technique used to creatively generate ideas to solve a problem.

Mind maps leverage this approach but do so with more deliberately to aid studying, problem solving, decision making, project planning,  writing, and presentation preparation.

Mind Map Rules: 

  1. Start with a central idea.
  2. Branch line segments away from the central idea with one word/image per line
  4. Use colors to facilitate grouping of ideas.
  5. Find your own style
  6. Apply it

Bending the Rules

I’ve found that depending on your overall goal, all of the rules regarding mind maps are bendable.

  • Central Idea: Sometimes it’s hard to see the central idea at first, and I’ve had times where I derived a central idea in the middle of creating the map. Although usually my response is “whoops, I could have done this a lot better”, there have been times where I ended up learning that I was creating a mind map about how to two central functions were interacting and overlapping with each other.
  • Branching outwards: Branching: I’ve found that occasionally it’s easier and ‘funner’ to make one long sequence of segments to tell a story to my mind.
  • USE CAPS: This is one rule I don’t bend anymore. I think caps work best, knowing that all letters will appear only one way takes a lot of strain off the mind creating and remembering the maps and opens you up to more dimensions of thinking. (And I find caps easier/quicker to read than lowercase)
  • Using Colors!!!: I find black and white just as good and colors, so long as I actively use my imagination and grouping skills to separate concepts and ideas.
  • Find your own style: This is the rule that yells to me, “There are no rules! (Do what you want!).
  • Apply it! Next time you’re having a family intervention,  planning out your next hot date, or just trying to figure out the meaning of life, go ahead an apply mind maps. I would encourage you to go ahead and use it throughout the day at every opportunity to really train your mind to rapidly come up with solutions or break down a large problem non-linearly.


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