A Brain Dump is a great organizing tool that can help you increase productivity, reduce stress, and be more organized. Basically it’s a brainstorming session designed to get everything OUT of your head and ON to paper, then INTO your planner.
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Think of a brain dump as a way to get everything out of your head and onto paper. It’s like taking your purse and just turning it over and dumping everything out onto the table- all the gum wrappers, receipts, and loose change. Just as you clean out the clutter from your home, you need to clear the clutter from your brain. The best way to do that is with a Brain Dump.
Doing a brain dump is a great first step in organizing your life, your job, a big project, whatever. You don’t have to do anything or decide anything during this step. Just write stuff down.
All you need is a notepad or notebook, paper, and something with which to write. You can also add a timer if you want to make sure you don’t spend too much time doing this.
Begin your brain dump by sitting down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Whatever helps you feel relaxed but also productive. Grab a notebook and a pen that you like writing with. You can also use the notes section in the back of your planner if you’d like.
Then, set your timer (if you’re using one) for five or ten minutes; whatever time you have to spare. Write down everything that’s floating around in your head. Fragments of thoughts, appointments, business ideas, blog post ideas, recipes to try, reminders of appointments. Write down EVERYTHING that pops into your mind.
Getting everything down on paper now, even if it’s in a jumbled form, will help you organize it and sort it later.
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Once you’ve done this initial brain dump, organize everything you’ve written down. Either plug items into your planner, write things onto your shopping list, or decide you’re not going to do the item and mark them off your paper.
Decide if anything is important, urgent, and need to be addressed right away and which items can be addressed after you’ve finished your important and urgent tasks.
Go through everything you’ve written down and decide what to do with each. Don’t leave until every single thing that’s been written has a plan of action. (Deciding NOT to do something IS a plan of action BTW. It’s okay to say no to things.)
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Next, if you have some extra time you can do an extended brain dump.
Look around your home, in the drawers, on the floor, and on the shelves. Look at your calendar, at your planner, in your email inbox, in your office inbox. Look everywhere that little tasks could be hiding and ask yourself the following questions:
- What goals do I want to accomplish this week?
- What steps do I need to take to reach this goal?
- What projects need to get finished?
- What steps do I need to take to finish the project?
- What’s happening this week?
- Is there any prep I need to do for upcoming events this week?
- What small steps can I take this week in order to meet some of my larger goals?
Try to have a brain dump at least once a week. It’s a great thing to do on Sunday night, when you are getting ready for the work week ahead. If you get really good at it, you can start doing a brain dump daily.
Just think of how clear your thoughts will be once you get all of those random ideas out of your head and on to paper!
Youʼll be amazed at how much this simple practice helps you feel less stressed and more in charge of your life.
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