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Writer's Block? Here's How to Use a Mind Map to Complete Class Assignments

By Jason Dieter

Whether you’re studying in an on-campus or online degree program, sometimes just getting started on an assignment is the toughest part. AIU Online student Jason Dieter, who is pursuing a online BBA in Project Management and is president of the university’s Management Club, says creating a mind map offers a simple solution for shaking off writer’s block and getting your work done. He shares how to do it below:

  1. Set up the area: Set up an area where you have everything you need. This area must also be free from distractions. Personally, I have set-up one of my children’s old rooms as an office. I take everything I need with me when I go into the room, including caffeine, nicotine and a snack. If you are like me, time is also a factor, so I made an agreement with my wife: I get 1 uninterrupted hour in the room every day and so does she.
  2. Open the programs: I first open the assignment data, and then open my mind mapping software. If you don’t have any software for mind mapping, you can simply use a paper and pen or a dry-erase board.
  3. Build the map: Start by creating a box or bubble in the center with the title. If you don’t have a title yet, use the assignment info, i.e., “Finunit3IP.” Your next task in building your map will be adding the assignment criteria. Each criteria or question in the assignment data gets its own branch off of the central bubble. As you are doing your research and come to a conclusion about one of the questions or find a piece of information that helps you to answer one of the questions, add it in by creating a new branch off of that question on your map. You can continue to do this until you have your entire paper written in on the mind map or just enough to be able to complete your paper, whichever you prefer.
  4. Transfer to the template: If you have used a program like SmartDraw to create your mind map, then you can simply copy and paste your way to the completion of your paper. You may have chosen to leave out your abstract, introduction and conclusions when doing your mind map, but you now have all the info you need to complete all three:
    • Abstract - 1 good question, and facts or statics the reader will find interesting (a teaser).
    • Introduction - Your theory and introduction to the data in the body (a greeter)
    • Conclusion - The closing argument (the lawyer)

Below, I have included a partial example to demonstrate how to create the mind map. The example provided was an early version of the completed mind map used to create this article.

4 Steps to Crush Writer's Block
Click image to enlarge.

Jason Dieter is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in Project Management at AIU Online. He is also president of AIU’s Management Club.