Recent months have seen businesses around the world forced to make major changes. The rise of technologies such as telephony, work from home call centers, and remote management tactics are just some of the new phenomena we’ve seen emerge.
Maintaining a good level of productivity is one of the immediate challenges businesses have faced with the widespread shift to remote working. So what is effective teamwork in these altered circumstances? The need to stay productive in spite of everything is paramount for businesses, and on the whole they’ve coped well, but it’s required the introduction of special arrangements.
Given the challenges businesses are facing in their efforts to maintain productivity, they’re resorting to all sorts of techniques and tools for remote teams. One technique which has long proven effective in boosting productivity is mind mapping. Since it was first pioneered in the 1960s, mind mapping has been widely used in a range of different areas.
Many of the world’s biggest and most successful corporations have long since adopted mind mapping. In fact, practically all the biggest multinationals (including IBM, HP, BP, Boeing and many others) make use of the technique.
It is commonly used across a range of different areas, including everything from human resources to project planning. Mind maps can help you prioritize tasks, navigate ideas, set a timeline for projects, chart a logistics process, and more. Its usefulness in boosting productivity is proven, as its longevity and widespread use suggests.
In this guide, we’ll list five top tips to help your business make the most effective use of mind mapping to enhance productivity. But first, we’ll go into a little more detail about what mind mapping is, and what its various uses are. Read on to learn more.
What is mind mapping?
Mind mapping involves creating graphical representations – i.e. a chart or diagram – of ideas and concepts around a particular topic or subject. The logic behind mind mapping is that it more accurately reflects the way your mind actually works, compared to traditional note taking or linear text.
As an activity which is both analytical and artistic, mind mapping is a more engaging and even fun way of getting your ideas down on paper and fleshing them out. It allows you to get core elements and ideas down, and then riff off them with related insights and observations.
Similar to how remote work tools function, a mind map also gives you the opportunity to plan out your workload and take an objective, comprehensive view of all the tasks involved. From here, you can get a clearer idea of which tasks are most pressing, and which can be put on the back burner for the time being. This allows you to direct your energies and resources towards where they’re most needed, while leaving other tasks for later.
Another great thing about mind mapping is that you can use it when organizing long-term projects, as well as getting those day-to-day responsibilities into some sort of order. You can take broad topics (for example, training and personal development) and then drill down from the main subject into individual tasks and deliverables.
There are, then, various benefits of using mind mapping in the workplace. The most obvious of these is that mind mapping helps you avoid getting stuck in a rut, trapped by linear thinking. In this way, it can help you unleash your creativity, coming up with new and innovative ideas that otherwise might not come to you.
It also allows you to improve productivity by simplifying task management and planning. You can, as we’ve noted, use mind mapping to break tasks down in a granular way and then prioritize them. This makes it easier to concentrate on the most important, pressing tasks before you. With so many tasks at hand people are doing what they can to stay on top of everything– that includes relying on tools like digital planners, cloud infrastructure services, and mind maps.
How to use mind mapping to boost productivity
So, now we’ve explained how mind mapping can help to improve your productivity at work, it’s time to look at five specific tips to help you make the most efficient use of the technique. Here are our suggestions:
1. Group brainstorming
One obvious use of mind mapping is in group brainstorming during video conference meetings. You’re probably already used to creating spider diagrams in these sessions, where everyone gets together and brings their ideas on a particular subject to the table. Creating a mind map gives people much more freedom to put their suggestions forward – however unorthodox – so that fresh, new thinking emerges.
Another advantage to using mind maps for brainstorming discussions is that they enable more people to participate. The whole point of brainstorming is to encourage a free and open exchange of ideas – mind mapping provides a useful, freewheeling visual representation of that process. When managers place emphasis on workforce team productivity, it’s been proven to provide a competitive advantage. What’s more, it can encourage people who might otherwise be somewhat reticent or reluctant to throw themselves into it.
2. Launching a new product or service
Following on from our previous point, mind maps can be highly effective when you’re preparing to develop and launch a new product or service. Obviously, this is always a challenging time for a business – but it’s a hugely exciting one, too. Using a mind map can help you outline the challenges you face in developing the product, what the product is intended to do (what needs does it meet), and any snags you might need to iron out.
Say, for example, you’re working on a new customer retention strategy. You can use a mind map to sketch out what you’re looking to achieve with it, and the tasks you have to perform in its development and eventual launch. Your mind map can help you sharpen and refine your ideas for the product you’re creating, organizing all of the elements involved, and thereby streamlining the whole process.
3. Summarizing key ideas
Anyone who runs a business will understand the importance of staying abreast of new innovations and developments. This is why you probably find yourself reading all sorts of ebooks, articles, white papers, and case studies. When you have so much information to take in, it can be difficult to process and make sense of it. If you’ve ever found yourself slogging through a sales territory plan on a Friday afternoon, you’ll know the feeling.
Mind maps are very effective in this regard. They can help you pick out and organize the most important bits of information, and provide an easy visual reference point for key extracts, citations, and quotes.
This makes it a lot simpler to pick out the main takeaways, saving you the trouble of having to sift through books, ebooks, and articles, again and again, when you’re looking for a particular point or insight.
4. Creating customer profiles
Profiles can be highly useful in helping you understand your consumer base and win customer loyalty. They allow you to get a better feel for different segments of that base, and envision what different demographics are looking for from your products and services. This not only provides you with a more detailed understanding, but potentially allows you to enhance overall client engagement – which is, after all, crucial.
You can draw up a customer profile quite easily using a simple mind map. Think about the kind of people that regularly patronize your business (whether they’re individual shoppers or purchasing managers). Then, consider what their reasons for doing so might be. You can invite other colleagues to get involved and open it up to the team for more insights.
5. Preparing reports
In business, reports are (extremely) plentiful, and producing them is an everyday task. There are a number of reasons they’re needed – to convey important information to colleagues and senior management, or to keep clients updated. It goes without saying that making and presenting reports for project updates, new marketing strategies, research, and other data to be disseminated can be a time-consuming and complex process, so it’s always useful to simplify things where possible – without cutting too many corners.
Whether you’re bringing a client up to speed about a new service or preparing an email marketing campaign, a mind map can provide you with a useful visual guide. In that way it can aid in preparing a structure or developing a concept to help you offer a simple explanation. Mind mapping is therefore a very effective way of outlining complicated information in a simpler way, making it more accessible to lay people.
Hopefully this post has given you a good idea of what you can get out of mind mapping, and how it can help make you and your business more productive. Obviously, we’ve only had time here to discuss the subject in a very broad outline, and offer a few suggestions. The more you get into mind mapping, the more you’ll develop your own shortcuts and methods for getting the most out of it. Though technologies like artificial intelligence and automated services definitely help streamline the process, mind maps really come in handy when it comes to manual work.
Mind mapping can provide you with an effective way of encouraging closer cross-team collaboration with colleagues, as well as a good method of breaking down complex information so that a variety of audiences can make sense of it. This can work wonders in your efforts to provide world class services. Mind maps are just like any other productivity tool. Just like ACD systems, remote work services, and fancy virtual collaboration platforms, mind maps are meant to add clarity, organization, and efficiency to your workflow.
There will, inevitably, be some trial and error involved before you find the mind mapping techniques that work best for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and everyone has their own individual ways of working. But you will find that the productivity gains offered by mind mapping make the extra effort well worthwhile.