Thursday, December 10, 2020

Doodles and Mind-Mapping

I've developed a practice of doodling through meetings that I attend. I've found that it helps me stay engaged with the content, especially when these meetings are at least several hours long, if not most of the day.

Here are a few recent ones that I've done. This one is from the Living Water Association's annual gathering (on Zoom, of course):

And these two are from a recent 2-day event for UCC national staff (also on Zoom):

The idea is that everything I draw relates to something that was mentioned or discussed during the meeting. It helps me listen more closely and note key concepts and ideas.

I recently discovered that doodling meetings can be considered a form of mind-mapping:

A Mind Map is a highly effective way of getting information in and out of your brain - it is a creative and logical means of note-taking and note-making that literally 'maps out' your ideas.

All Mind Maps have some things in common. They have a natural organizational structure that radiates from the center and use lines, symbols, words, color and images according to simple, brain-friendly concepts. Mind Mapping converts a long list of monotonous information into a colorful, memorable and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain's natural way of doing things.

One simple way to understand a Mind Map is by comparing it to a map of a city. The city center represents the main idea; the main roads leading from the center represent the key thoughts in your thinking process; the secondary roads or branches represent your secondary thoughts, and so on. Special images or shapes can represent landmarks of interest or particularly relevant ideas.

The first thing I always draw are the large words at the center of the page. Sometimes they're the first idea that I latch onto, but usually they represent the meeting that I'm attending. Then I fill in the rest of the pages with other pictures, words, and phrases as I hear them. I don't know where they'll go on the page until I put my pen to paper.

I hadn't considered these to be diagrams the way mind maps are considered such, but the concept of mind-mapping has shown me that this is really what I'm doing: converting information into a form that the mind will remember better via images and keywords.

Author and creator Austin Kleon puts it another way: "It’s like emptying out the junk in your brain." Yep, that works, too.