If you prefer, you can use the traditional brain storming approach to create your wish-list by jotting down as many random thoughts as possible, thinking up wild, zany, off-the-wall ideas and connections.
The limitations of traditional brainstorming are in its structure.
By default, the output from brainstorming is a set of top-to-bottom and left-to-right lists on a page or over several pages. This automatically creates a bias in your mind that the item on the top of the list is the most important, when this is not necessarily the case.
The brainstormed lists also don’t reflect the inevitable and complex connections that exist between topics. Without a link, the relative importance of this item on the list may be lost.
The concept of Mind Mapping [also called concept mapping] is based on a central idea written in the center of a page, then related ideas are added on branches that radiate from this central idea. Because of this structure, it requires all ideas to be connected to the centre and allows connection to one another, providing opportunity for convergent thinking, fitting ideas together, as well as thinking up new ideas.
And by focussing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches and connections between the ideas, you are plotting your thoughts and ideas in a way that will help you understand and remember the information. Keep the following points in mind when creating a Mind Map:
A Concept Map is a useful tool not only for goal setting [refer to the section on 'Mind Mapping for goal setting'] but for planning of any home or work project. If you haven’t got the knack of drawing the map yourself (don’t worry, a bit of practice and you’ll get there), there are a couple of software packages you can obtain.
Sticky Note Mapping
A variation to the traditional mindmap and the software versions, is something called “sticky note mapping”.
As its name suggests, it involves the use of sticky notes – lots of them.
Sticky note mapping is a brainstorming technique based on the mind map principle, that allows you to ‘storm and sort’ your ideas without having to re-work your mind map or edit your mindmap software.
To do a sticky note map, you’ll need a large section of blank wall or something like a whiteboard, and lots of sticky notes. Using a variety of sticky note colours and sizes, simply jot down all your thoughts on the sticky notes – with each new thought or concept on a new sticky note.
As you write down your thoughts on the sticky notes, stick them up on the wall or whiteboard – you can group them into similar themes as you stick them up, but the best thing about using sticky notes for this map is that you can move them around as your thoughts develop.
Like mindmaps, once you’ve jotted down all your thoughts and stuck them on the wall, look for branches and connections between the ideas. What’s missing? What are the recurring ideas? Where are the connections?
When you’ve sorted the sticky notes into a map that makes the most sense of your thoughts, you can either take a photo of it as your record, or draw it as a real mind map (or use the mindmap software available).
Sticky note mapping will give the same outcome as mindmapping, but is a good technique if your’re really not sure where to start with your mind map.