Mind-mapping can sound intimidating, but it shouldn't. If you've ever reached for a pen or pencil to sketch out your plans, or even just made a to-do list, you are ready to try out the productivity tool that many swear by. 

What is mind-mapping?

Originally formalized by Tony Buzan, mind-mapping is a simple way to organize your thoughts or plans around an idea or multiple ideas. Consider it "thinking out loud" or simply getting your thoughts down on paper (virtual or otherwise).

Mind maps can be quick-and-dirty or more elaborate depending on what you're trying to achieve. 

Thinking outside the list: why mind-map?

Mind-mapping lets you "think outside the list" - instead of being confined to traditional, linear approaches, you can explore and develop each and every facet of your thought process. It's typically an early step in project planning, but can be used throughout projects to great results.

How can I make my mind map stand out?

Images, text, stats, quotes - the sky's the limit.

I'm not at all creative, can I still mind-map?

Yes! Approach your mind map as an informal flow-chart. Mind-mapping doesn't have to be pretty - just useful to you, the mind-mapper.


Check out some examples, below, and feel free to share your mind maps with @pencilorink on Instagram. Many thanks to Tim Regan, Jessica Mullen, and Mike for their images.