Mind mapping is overrated … focus on these 4 strategies instead

Mind mapping is overrated … focus on these 4 strategies instead.

I dislike mind mapping with a passion, and most of the students I have worked with feel the same way. The reason being… they take SOOO much time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, you will learn why the way in which mind mapping has been popularised is a completely overrated way of organising your ideas but more importantly, what you should focus on instead.

Mind mapping is a hot topic.


If done correctly, it is powerful. It can help you think faster and more clearly, and it can help you learn with greater levels of memory retention.

The problem is… most people focus too much on the mind map and NOT on what it aims to help them achieve.

The concept dates back to Aristotle; it can help people to be phenomenally great thinkers and narrators – but now people sometimes spend hours trying to make mind maps, most often ineffectively.


So, here are my 4 tips for making sure the time you spend organising your thoughts (mind mapping) is really worthwhile!

  1. Instead of focusing on mind mapping, focus on the goal of mind mapping… helping you become more structured and creative in your thinking.
  2. Instead of trying to create beautiful mind maps in a certain way that takes a lot of time, focus more on trying to extract key information in a useful, memorable way.
  3. Instead of trying to get mind mapping “right”, focus on trying to remember and understand more… which is what productive learning is all about. Any way of mind mapping is right if it helps you achieve this goal!
  4. Instead of following certain rules of mind mapping, like trying to make everything neat as if it’s a school project… create your own rules, go quickly, makes mistakes… be happy that your mind map doesn’t resemble a work of art and be glad that you can see the links between the information in your head and on paper.

And 4.5: Don’t focus on the mind map, focus on being engaged in your work! The more absorbed you become in the key information, the more you will remember and understand what you have learnt… and this is way more beneficial than any mind map you can create.

Do you like mind mapping? Got any tips for keeping it productive? Leave a comment below.

About Daren Denholm

Daren Denholm went from nearly failing University to becoming the Highest Ranked Competitor at the World Memory Championships from Africa and the Southern Hemisphere for 6 years in a row! (2006 – 2011) He was also the only person in the world to compete in ALL 6 World Memory Championships during this time.