How to mind map like a pro

If you know how to mind map you can do all of the following things fast, easy, and enjoyable:

  • Improving memory
  • Better understanding
  • Boosting creativity
  • Structure and organize

There are two ways to build efficient mind maps. Firstly you can use a template, which offers all the necessary guidelines.

Secondly, learn how to create a mind map from scratch to organize your thoughts and to generate new ideas.

Traditional vs Digital mind maps

What is a mind map?

A mind map is a type of diagram which allows you to visually organize your thoughts, ideas, or any kind of information in a simple structure. It has a central topic from which radiates other topics and subtopics related to the central idea. This technique was popularised by Tony Buzan (a British psychology author) in 1974 when he mentioned it on a BBC TV series.

There are two ways of building a mind map:

Traditional mind mapping

How to mind map - Traditional mind map

You can create a mind map using only pen and paper. The traditional way means that you can draw mind maps. You can start writing the main idea in the center of a blank page, for example, positivity. Try to choose single words or short phrases.

Afterward, add branches which radiate out from this idea, for instance, be grateful, smile, meditate, call a friend, etc. These ideas, which are the first level of your map, represent the chapter headings of your ideas. From those you can continue to add the third level of your mind map, for example at fitness, you can add gym and home workouts, and so on.


  • When you draw mind maps with your own hand it’s easier to structure all your thoughts, compared to the linear text. This structure offers better visibility and an overview of the subject. 
  • Moreover, it is personalized and you can even draw something next to the text.

However, the traditional mind map is not easily editable. One of the purposes of mind mapping is to generate new ideas. You either squeeze a new topic or you will use a rubber. Either way, the result won’t be seamless.

Consequently, in the end, you may consider the idea to draw it again and keep the first paper as a draft, and you will waste plenty of time. In addition, you can’t collaborate or share your mind map with other people.

Digital mind mapping

You can create a mind map using a mind mapping tool. The process is similar to the traditional mind map, starting from a blank page and writing the central topic. After that, you continue to add branches.


  • The main difference is that you have more tools to customize it, besides the text itself: you can add images, videos, icons, links, notes, and audio files. You can change the colors of the text, background, lines. You can also modify the size, shapes, and layout of your mind map.
  • With a digital mind map, it is very easy to organize information and edit it after. You can instantly add, move, or remove new ideas, change the layout, colors, or any other modifications.
  • Moreover, a digital map has the advantage of being easily shareable with other people. You can create a mind map along with your team, colleagues, or friends. All of you can collaborate in real-time.
  • A digital mind map is very accessible. You can access your gallery of mind maps from anywhere, anytime. This way you can edit or view your maps from your phone, tablet, or PC whenever you need to.
  • A mind mapping software offers the option to create your mind map starting from a template which offers guidelines for completion. You can find many types of templates starting from solving problems, brainstorming sessions to plan a trip or a business meeting.

Comparing a traditional and a digital mind map, it’s more efficient to use software instead of trying to draw mind maps. It offers you many more advantages.

Tips on how to mind map like a pro

The mind maps imitate the way our brain thinks: bouncing ideas. This is why this technique makes it easier for you to understand and memorize the information faster and to be more creative. This way, it’s easier to create new connections between concepts and add branches. To get the most out of your mind maps, follow these simple tips:

  • When you add branches, write a single word or a short phrase. The mind map should be simple and intuitive, containing keywords which help you create new connections between them. Don’t write a thousand words in your topics. The point is to avoid plain text, and have meaningful key words in your topics.
  • You can either write a single word in your central topic or add a suggestive image. A picture is worth a thousand words, they said. The image stimulates your imagination and you may find new ideas faster. Choose a representative central image which illustrates the single word written inside the topic.
  • After you added an eye-catching central image and created more topics, add images in the rest of the map as well. Being a visual representation, the images, icons, videos are very welcomed in your mind map.
  • Play with both colors and images. Avoid making a black and white map. Mind mapping is a great way to boost your creativity. Use different colors to differentiate the level of the map, or the categories. Customize the color of the topics, lines, background.
  • Use different sizes for each level of the mind map to differentiate the levels. This way it will be easier to read.
  • Share your mind map with others and build it together in real-time. More minds are better than one. After you create it, add the central image and invite your team, colleagues, or friends and let your creativity flow!

When should you use mind mapping?

For School

Scientific studies show a 10-15% increase in retention when people use this technique. It can be very useful to study any subject starting from a foreign language, history to mathematics or biology. Mind mapping helps both teachers and students, being a great way to structure courses, assignments, notes, summaries, etc.

For Work

Organize your tasks, to-do lists, marketing plans, website structure or any other work-related information with mind maps. It will be easier for you to view everything and to find what you need faster. An important aspect is that you’ll always have an overview of the whole structure, while you can focus anytime on a specific element. In addition, if you choose a mind mapping software you’ll benefit from real-time collaboration with your co-workers.

For Personal Development

Organizing yourself it’s not just a skill that you use for work. You can also apply mind mapping benefits when it comes to your personal life. Set goals for the next month, year or more. Make travel plans for your future vacations. Make fitness programs or plan your meals for the following days. Write all your favorite TV Series or Documentaries you want to watch on a mind map. The list can continue with a big variety of uses you can find for yourself.

Mind mapping is a technique that can be applied in so many different fields. That’s why mastering it and having some tips and tricks on how to improve your diagrams can help you a lot. You can improve your memory, creativity, comprehension and organizing skills just by simply applying these tips and making a habit out of them.

Check out this tutorial to see how to create your mind maps like a pro: