Maybe you have heard of something called a mind map. If you haven’t heard the name, you can probably recognize the picture. Sometimes called a spidergram, spidergraph, or a mind web (probably to the chagrin of arachnophobes, I know), a mind map is a visual way of laying out information to help you better understand or organize your thoughts.
They work by taking a central keyword or phrase and then branching off a bunch of related elements like radials around a circle.
Though the phrase “mind map” does sound like something out of a science-fiction story, it actually doesn’t involve any electrodes or needles. In fact, the notion of laying out information visually dates back all the way to the 3rd Century. Even today, all you need is a blank piece of paper and a pen (or an empty computer screen!).
Here are some ways mind maps can help you out in your dental practice:
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR MEMORY
Sometimes the number of intricate details for a particular procedure can be overwhelming, even for those of us who have been in the dental world for a long time. If there are key things that you have to remember, put them down on paper.
Mind maps help to put information in a visual format that your brain can easily take in.
PROBLEM SOLVING & CREATIVITY
Personally, I have had times where I come up against a problem that I just cannot seem to solve. Whether it’s in my professional life or outside the office, sometimes people need to look at things from a different angle. Or two, or ten, or more!
When you need to get creative about a particular problem, mind maps work in exactly the same way. When you don’t have to think in a straightforward, linear fashion, your brain often becomes more productive. Think of it as a place to brainstorm ideas.
PLANNING YOUR ATTACK
There are times when your schedule can seem like a jumble. If you have a lot on your place for the next month, week, or even day, using a mind map can help you make sense of things. Putting everything down on paper can give you a chance to see what important meetings, appointments, and obligations you have. Then, you can fit the most important things into your calendar first, followed by the secondary stuff.
MIND MAP APPS
There are even some great computer programs that let you make your own digital mind maps. Some applications (like MindMeister and XMind) are free, while others range in price from $100 to nearly $400 (iMindMap, for example, or MindJet Mind Manager).
Each program offers different ways of helping to organize your thoughts and ideas. Check them out to see if they help you.