Does your day move at a mile a minute with 50 trillion things you feel like you have to do and remember all at once?
Me too, girl! Me.Too.
Your job(s), family, and personal obligations frequently all bleed into one, leaving you feeling frazzled and bouncing from task to task unable to really accomplish anything.
When our brains are restless with thought it can lead to brain fog, more stress, avoidance and an overall decrease in productivity. It’s easy to fall out of normal routines when our mind is working in overdrive trying hard to make sense of the content tornado taking place inside our head.
Brain dumping is one of my favorite methods for decluttering my mind, untangling my thoughts and organizing them into manageable and executable tasks.
What is Brain Dumping?
It’s literally an exercise designed to take all your thoughts and put them down in the physical form. There is no rhyme or reason to their exit, just a simple dump of everything whirling around in your mind.
Preparing for a Brain Dump
Performing a brain dump is easier than you think.
Here’s how to get started:
· Sit yourself down in a quiet place that is free of distractions so you can dedicate your full self to the exercise.
· Find your favorite notebook, journal, or writing app.
When choosing a writing platform, use something you can come back to regularly and isn’t used for anything else. This way as you write down your thoughts they can all be left in a specific place and put away when the exercise is complete.
I personally love using a notebook and a pencil. It helps me really slow down and work through the release of all my thoughts. But your favorite notes app, writing app, or Google Doc will work just as well. Use whatever method works best for you for releasing your train of thought.
I also have an Active Brain Dump notebook I keep with me all the time to write down the various thoughts and ideas that run through my head throughout the day and then if necessary, put those tasks on my weekly or monthly task lists.
Once you’ve settled into a quiet place with your notebook and pen in hand, simply start writing.
WRITE WITHOUT RESTRICTION.
I’m serious! Write down any and every single thought that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be clean. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to make sense.
The whole point of the exercise is to clear the mind. Your thoughts can be incomplete, single words, emotions and/or feelings. Don’t be afraid to let yourself mindlessly doodle or even test out different or new colored pens.
The margins of my brain dumping notebooks are full of doodles, consisting mainly of cartoon robots (I might have a small obsession- no biggie) and sometimes full of even more color when I’m testing out new ink or pencil colors.
Being messy is ok. And it can even help your brain make more sense of things.
But don’t stress about the mess! Everything will be connected and organized into manageable tasks later on.
You might find yourself a bit surprised at the amount of information you write down and the number of pages you fill when you allow yourself to write without restriction, especially if you’re doing this for the first time.
Let your mind freely guide your pen. It’s a very cathartic exercise.
Processing your Brain Dump
The last part of a brain dump exercise is all about processing and organizing the information you just released.
Before any of that though, take a step back and walk away from the exercise. This is an important step because you want to be able to review and organize all your content with a clear mind and a fresh set of eyes.
** An important note: some, or many, of the things you wrote down, will not require any further action. A lot of times, just the act of writing down and releasing a thought or feeling onto a piece of paper and putting it away is exactly what’s needed to let something go or to see and understand it more clearly.
Now it’s time to figure out where everything can go.
On a fresh piece of paper make a new organized list (I put mine in categories) for everything you wrote down and decide on a plan of action for each item.
The way you organize your list will be your own, but here are a few categories I use when processing the content of my brain dumps:
– Weekly to-do list (both personal & business)
– Monthly to-do list (both personal & business)
– Personal Goals
– Business Goals
– Writing projects/topics/ideas
Get to Work
Now that you’ve completed your brain dump and have organized all your thoughts where they need to go, it’s time to get to work. Find ways to weave those tasks into your day/week/month and work with intention to accomplish each one.
How Often Should I do a Brain Dump?
That’s entirely up to you. I do a brain dumping session at the end of each month, which helps with my monthly planning at the start of a fresh month. However, if my life starts to get a little busier, I have new things coming up in my business, or just need a creative release I will conduct brain dumping exercises as frequently as I need to. There is no right or wrong to how often you should perform the exercise.
Have you done a brain dumping exercise before? What’s your favorite method for making sense of your mind’s content tornado?