The Difference in Taking Notes

How the brain works
Rules for making mind maps
Using Mind Maps
Work Preparation

How the brain works

Normally, the usual tasks are been solved with logically and analytically thinking. Modern science has found, that both halves of the brain are performing different tasks..

Tasks performed by the left side of the brain are things like: Tasks performed by the right side of
the brain are things like:

Words  Imagination
Lists Multi-Dimensionality
Logic Shapes
Numbers Rooms
Linearity Daydreaming
Analysis Rhythm
Sequences Color

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While the left brain is involved in linear tasks, the right side is often not involved in the process of problem solving. So you can say, most people just work with only half of their brains.

At this point, Mind Mapping comes into operation and bring in some aspects through a special technique in note taking. Those aspects are interesting for the right brain:

First, there will be a spatial experience because of refraining from using linear notes. Assigning the keywords to a selected place on the paper, a learning experience will be started. Responsible for this learning experience is the right side of the brain.

Because there is no linear structure, keywords can be added at any place. This encourages the brain to build associations to the already written keywords.

Now you can add supplements and crosslinks to your keywords. Colors and sketches will help to make the overall view more convenient and graphically structured. This increases the recognition and learning-effect of your mind map.

So you can say, mind mapping helps us to use our brain more completely than before.

Rules for making Mind Maps


You should use a large sheet of paper without lines. The paper should be used in landscape format. Try to write your keywords that you can read them without rotating the paper. Otherwise, you may end up wasting much time to bring your paper into the right position.


As starting point, the center of the page should be used. Describe the topic of your mind map in an eye-catching way. You can use a 3D-style drawing or a colored painting. From this starting point, several main branches will be drawn. The order of these branches is not important. If you need a special order for understanding the topics, like with schedule plans, you can number each branch or order them clockwise.

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Image 1: Mind Map with main branches


Write keywords directly on the lines. Use printed letters.


Not more than one word by line should be written. If you use long phrases, it will cancel the positive effects of Mind Mapping. Be sure to separate words into several lines.

Using a few meaningful keywords gives a higher advantage over long phrases. One of the positive effects of Mind Mapping is memory training, so that those few words will be sufficient for you to remember the whole thing.

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Image 2: Separate long sentences into some keywords


To emphasize keywords or groups of words, use different colors for the lines according to importance or belonging to themes.
If possible, use pictures signs and symbols. These will be processed by the right side of the brain and will improve the positive effect of the Mind Map.


There is nothing like „right" or „wrong" Mind Maps. Everybody will develop his or her own personal style for Mind Mapping.

Normally, Mind Maps are used for holding short term information, that will be restructured into a „normal" linear document.
Example: minutes of a meeting

On the other hand, Mind Maps can be used as memory aid for long living information. Because of the involvement of the right brain, the recognition effect is much higher as it can be with linear notes. So you can get the sought information out of your Mind Map much faster than from a list of notes.

Using Mind Maps

Two Types of Mind Mapping

not structured

During the phase of idea finding, Mind Maps can be used for brainstorming. As in an actual brainstorming, anything should be avoided slowing down the flow of ideas. Therefore, any effort in trying to put your ideas into a structure, will interfere in your flow of ideas.

Just write every Idea that came to mind on a separate line as a new keyword. Your goal should be to find as many words as possible. After that first phase, you can add more sub branches for as many keywords you like. This will help you to find associations to the keywords already written.

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Image 3: Unstructured Mind Map on the topic "Bus"


If a structure is already present, for example as an agenda, you can use the main topics as the main branches of your Mind Map. Subtopics will build the sub branches. Unstructured Mind Maps can be structured afterwards if you draw a new Map while grouping the topics into main and sub branches.

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Image 4: Structured Mind Map on the topic "Bus"




Mind Maps can be used for scheduling your planning for a day, a week, a year or even an entire life. For the daily planning it might be a good idea to arrange the appointments clockwise around the center where they will be placed on your watch (if you don’t already use a digital watch).

Image 5: Example for a schedule Mind Map


For finding Ideas, an unstructured Mind Map will be good for a first brainstorming session. After that, you should group these ideas into a new, structured Mind Map. If you want to avoid forgetting something, you can cross out the keywords on the old  Map as you go along inserting them on the new one.

Shopping Lists

For this task, a pre-structured layout by merchant will be effective. So you can add all items for the bakery to one main branch, other items from the pharmacy to another branch. So you will be able to assign each item to the right place and you
won’t forget a thing.


During a meeting, you will be much faster in writing keywords within a Mind Map than formulating entire sentences. While
you write down keywords, you have to assign each keyword to the appropriate main branch or sub branch. So you will
structure your notes while you are writing them down. If you are not certain, which branch a keyword belongs to, this is an
indication that you have not fully understood that fact. If that happens, you can ask and solve that problem immediately. After
the meeting, you can convert your Mind Map into a linear Document.

Work Preparation


To make a draft for a lesson, you just need to place the keywords on a little card. Use these cards during your presentation.

Books and Articles to read

Papers like articles or reports that you have to read and understand, can be re-structured easily if you create a Mind Map while reading them. In most cases, the information will be much clearer if you transform the read information into your own Mind Map structure. This can be compared to creating an excerpt from that material, but Mind Mapping is much faster than that because you do not need to formulate complete sentences.

If you use your Mind Map later, the information from the read documents will be remembered much easier than with scanning the original document again.

Books and Articles to write

After you found ideas with an unstructured Mind Map, use your main branches as the main topics of your article or chapter headings of your book to write. Sub branches will build sub chapters of a book or sections within an article.


You can use Mind Maps for each sort of planning

finance plans
production sequences
project plans
holiday plans

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Image 6: Example for planning a holiday