Sunday, May 20, 2007

Have Trouble Remembering Things?

Maybe it's all the brain cells I killed during my college days, but I always have a hard time remembering all of the things that I read in books, even when I think that those ideas are quite good. For example, when my husband and I first got together, I read the book Smart Couples Finish Rich, and there were a lot of good ideas in there. However, the only thing I now remember is the Latte Effect and the idea that you should talk with your partner about finances.

That's not good.

See, I tend to think of things in "the big picture" or a "sense of the whole". Personal finance books tend to fall into the realm of "the little details". Because of this, things don't generally stick.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?

If so, I believe that the answer lies in mind-mapping the book as you are reading it.

A mind-map looks like the picture above. The basic idea is that you take one main point and put it in the middle, then draw lines out from that with connecting ideas, and more lines out from there with ideas which connect to those.

To illustrate, I'll describe the mind-map that I did for my website about teaching English to kids. I started with the main concept of "teaching ESL to kids". From there, I branched out into "teaching ideas", "classroom management", "craft ideas", "ESL games", "lesson plans" etc. Each one of those ideas branches off into others. "Craft ideas" would branch out with "autumn crafts", "Halloween crafts", etc. Then those are broken down even further with the specific crafts that fall into that category.

Generally, people will use mind-maps as a brainstorming tool. I do this also and I think that it's very effective. But it's also a great tool for remembering things.

If you take the time to mind-map things as you read them, it will be much easier to go back and "remember" what was said from some book you read five months ago.

Books are such a great resource for everyone. They are full of ideas that can really help you out. Something that you read now may not be applicable to your current situation, but it may be important 3 years down the road. Now, you don't have to dig the book out and re-read it. Just consult your mind-map.