The Pros and Cons of Mind Mapping
Good way to mix multiple list types
If you can see a to-do list forming itself while you’re listening in on a meeting, it’s easy to create one on the fly and categorize it properly without losing focus on the flow of conversation that’s happening. Graphic Idea: A person participating in a group conversation while typing on a laptop, with a smile on his face while people around the person are trying to scribble notes down in their books.
Good way to keep track of what needs to be done
Once you’ve written out your to-do list and it’s time to start working on it you can easily see what needs to be done and it should be grouped around information relevant to your task. Graphic idea: A few buckets with similar words in each bucket ( ex; Bucket A has fruit names Bucket B has Vegetable names )
Good way to visualize complex tasks
Feeling overwhelmed? Mind maps are an excellent way of breaking down tasks into smaller, more bite-sized chunks that can be easily tackled. Graphic idea: Person chipping away at a boulder.
Good way to take quick notes during a meeting
Constantly getting lost looking at your notes after a meeting? Getting lost during the meeting because you’re writing out needlessly long sentences? Mind maps are a great way to solve the age-old issue of information overload. Graphic idea: Long, verbose sentences passing through a filter and coming out as a few key words
Easy to over complicate
Mind maps need to be a group of short words and phrases, not a long complicate set of sentences. The idea is to trigger your brain into remembering information by jotting down keywords. Check your long paragraphs in at the door. Graphic idea: A picture of an apple on a table and someone drawing the labeled cross section of an apple on their paper.
Can be messy on paper
If you’re using pen and paper to write out your mind maps it can be easy to write something in the wrong spot or not give yourself enough room for a branch of ideas. Luckily software exists that makes mind mapping a breeze. Just learn a few quick hotkeys and you’re in business. Graphic idea: An illustration of someone changing their mind on an issue (It could be as simple as a person with a speech bubble going “Actually, now that I think about it, we should probably…”)
Difficult to elaborate on tasks.
If you’re working on something that’s truly complex and requires meticulous note taking in order to make sense at a later date, mind mapping can be a poor choice. Don’t throw out that notepad just yet, it still has some life left in it. Graphic idea: Someone reading a book on rocket science (or any other subject that probably shouldn’t be boiled down to ‘bare minimums’)
Can be time consuming to build a `proper` mind map
A good mind map takes time to write out. When you’re in a time crunch in a meeting short notes in your tree might be the way to go, just make sure to elaborate on them and move items to where they need to be as soon as possible before you lose your mental snapshot. Graphic idea: A pilot is flying, being given a long and complex set of instructions by his fellow co-pilot. (This would elaborate a situation where you don’t really have time to take notes at all but have to keep a mental picture of what’s being said in your head)
Josh McClean, Software Developer Missing Link Technologies ltd.
Illustrations by: Josée Leger, Graphic Designer, Missing Link Technologies ltd.