If you’re like me, you often find yourself in “note-taking” situations in meetings, lunches or classrooms. I’m a bit of a visual learner, and there are a few strategies that seem to help me retain ideas and how they relate. One is called “mind-mapping” and you can read a great explanation of it on mindtools.com. This website has some amazing resources for problem solving, time management, information skills, decision making, project management, communication skills, and creativity. Check it out.

Back to mind-mapping. Basically, it is a way to show the structure of a subject and its related pieces. “A good Mind Map shows the ‘shape’ of the subject, the relative importance of individual points and the way in which one fact relates to other.” For me, this is an even more effective brainstorming tool. I’ve found this to be very helpful as we are piecing together ideas about starting an NGO/alatpitvány in Hungary.

Write your subject in the middle of the page. Connect your subheadings. Third and Fourth levels of information and facts are connected to your subheadings. I love the organic nature of this method. The structure of your ideas will naturally grow and reveal itself.

Mindtools.com gives a few ways to improve the effectiveness of your mind-map: use single words or simple phrases, use color, use symbols, and cross-link identical ideas. Try it out!