If you haven’t heard of a brain dump, it is pretty much what you would imagine it to be, getting all the ’stuff’ your holding in your head out and in front of you. You could think of it a little like tipping out your junk drawer and sorting all the ‘stuff’ so you can find things again.
HOW TO START A BRAIN DUMP
To do a full brain dump you will need something to record your thoughts, (electronic or paper), and a seat to sit in. Give yourself at least 5 minutes for the first chunk. It isn’t the full time required for a complete brain DUMP, the full list can take a few days at best to complete. But it does get the cogs in your brain turning properly and not clunking and grinding unable to focus at all!
When I’m feeling scattered and my attention is going in too many directions, what works for me is the ‘free-write’ option. No corrections, not much thought, not much decision making involved other than to open up a page, app, notepad, journal & pen, whatever is with me and just start.
Here you will get down in quick snippets, bullet points and words or lists whatever is on your mind.
It is important to note that sometimes the brain is cluttered with thoughts about one particular thing that needs attention.
This is called a ‘Brain Storm’. It could be a project or event coming up i.e. wedding, holiday, function, home renovation etc. Your thoughts are focused in one area and the ideas and tasks come hard and fast to your mind if you give them room to flow. Brainstorm all the bits and pieces of information regarding that topic in the same manner as a brain dump.
Sometimes I end up doing both at the same time. I get halfway through a brain dump and realise there is one particular task that is looming that needs a brain storm for a few minutes e.g. a birthday party or Christmas plans. I can list it out while Im thinking about it right there if I need to then continue with my general brain dump.
TAKE 5 MINUTES AT FIRST
Write out the lists and thoughts that are rolling mercilessly around in your mind.
The phone calls
Dates of things you need to think about
Odd jobs that need doing around your home or workplace
Bills to pay
Errands to run
Things to buy, presents
Personal challenges your facing that you haven’t had time to pay attention to
Anything else you’re trying not to forget
List the primary things cluttering your mind at the moment. It is not a thorough inventory of every single thing that needs to be done in your life.
Don’t be a perfectionist with this or you will mess up the process!
Its getting your immediate thoughts out of your head for what needs to get done right now so you have room to think.
Write what it is thats on your mind and why. Like this…
Jason > hard conversation
Pay power > call them and get a deal
COMPLETE YOUR BRAINDUMP
It takes a while if you haven’t done it before, what I mean by that is that, it may take a few attempts to fully complete a brain dump. Do it over a few days or a week a half hour at a time or when things are rolling into your mind, carry it in your bag make sure you have your notepad available for you to use when the motivation hits.
To be honest I do a brain dump so regularly that its usually done in 10 minutes on my phone and I can see that the things that are there are either needing to be done asap or things that are always there and part of what I always want to be working on as a person/family.
The beauty is that when you get it all out and see it black and white, it’s somehow less overwhelming.
REMEMBER THINGS WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO FORGET
The tasks can be grouped together and maybe punched out over a few weeks, or given a time frame to be done by the end of the month or year. Maybe some of the items on that list could be put in a ‘someday/maybe’ list on a computer file or Evernote, keep it labeled well and look at it often. You will find that a lot of items in your brain dump aren’t as pressing as you thought and all they are is a weight you have been carrying that doesn’t need to be there bugging you each day.
I highly recommend the ‘Brain Dump’ strategy as a way of starting to declutter your mind and create some order for your thoughts. A way to record all the things you are trying to remember not to forget!
Once again Mystie Winckler from Simplified Organisation is my Go-to-Gal for GTD (Getting Things Done). She is an expert with home management strategies and dives right into the self deprication we do to ourselves when we are unrealistic and procrastinate with our lives. I love her realness and how practical she makes it with getting to the heart of why we should do what we need to and why we don’t. She gives an incredibly in-depth instructional course on getting your life and attitude organised and this includes how to do a thorough ‘brain dump’.