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Our brains can only hold so much information. That’s why planners, lists, and reminders are my BFFs. One thing I personally struggle with A LOT with is brain clutter.
Sometimes I have so many things floating around my head – things I want or need to do, things I can’t forget, ideas for my blog, random thoughts, etc. Sometimes all the things I’m trying to keep in my mind can get overwhelming. It makes it hard to even know what to do next.
Can you relate?
If you follow me on social media, you might’ve seen me mention a few times recently that I’ve been planning a lot for 2019. I’ve had some big ideas and projects in mind for both my life and this blog, along with some smaller things. So, I figured it was time to let it all out and declutter my mind. Enter: the brain dump.
I’ve mentioned brain dumps before here on TIL, but I’ve never actually devoted a whole blog post to it. Which is surprising, because brain dumps help me clear my mind pretty regularly.
So, I thought it was a good idea to FINALLY write this post. I wanted to share how exactly I clear my mind and get organized with brain dumps. I also created a printable to make the process easier. But you can also use a bullet journal, or even a blank piece of paper.
So, let’s just get right into it!
Why a brain dump is helpful
Like I already mentioned, having too many things floating around in your brain can cause problems. On the other hand, letting it all out can have many benefits. Here are a few of them, in case you need convincing:
- It can increase productivity
- It can clear your mind
- It can reduce stress and anxiety
- It can help you focus
- It can simplify projects and ideas
So, if you’re convinced that you need to do a brain dump, let’s keep going!
When to do a brain dump
There are a variety of situations that a brain dump can help you with. Here are a few of the situations that they’ve helped me with. You might have your own reasons, though!
- If you have a big project to do, a brain dump can help you organize your thoughts down on paper. It can also help you simplify the process.
- If you’re stressed out, a brain dump can help you express your worries and fears. Sometimes just letting negative thoughts out of our heads can help reduce the stress and put our emotions into perspective.
- If you have a million things on your mind – to-do’s appointments, things you can’t forget – a brain dump can help you let them out. When you’ve let these things out of your mind, you can think more clearly and since you have it all written down, you won’t forget any of it.
- At the end of each week – or day, if you want – it’s helpful to do a brain dump just to refresh our minds for the next week.
How to do a brain dump
Grab a piece of paper, your bullet journal, or the printable at the end of this post. If you’re using the printable, this part goes on the first page.
Now, go to a quiet place with no distractions and just start writing. Write everything that’s coming into your mind. Don’t edit yourself and don’t try to organize your thoughts. Just write. What do you need to get done? What’s been weighing on your mind? What’s been distracting you? Write down anything that is taking up space in your brain. Keep writing things down until there’s nothing else you can think of.
This probably won’t be neat or pretty. It might look like a mess, but that’s okay. The point is to just empty out your brain and dump it onto the paper. It will make more sense with the next step which is…
How to organize a brain dump
Sometimes I like to step away for half an hour or so and give my brain a chance to breathe before I start organizing everything. I like to grab a cup of coffee to help me with the next step. 😉
But when you’re ready, it’s time to grab another piece of paper, turn to another page in your bullet journal, or use the second or third page in the printable (whichever you prefer). This is when you start to process and organize your brain dump!
I like to organize my brain dump into different sections. Sometimes the sections are areas of life, such as:
Sometimes the sections are based on how important the tasks are, such as:
Sometimes, if the brain dump was project-based, the sections are different parts of the project. Or it can be a mixture of different things. It just depends on what was in your brain at that moment!
Now, go through the brain dump and put each task or thought into the section it belongs. If something was unimportant or didn’t matter, just cross it off of the brain dump. You can let that thought go now.
When everything is organized, you now have a list of the things that you needed to remember. Your brain should feel more clear and at peace, and now you can be more productive too!
Free brain dump printable!
Enter your name and email in the form below and a link to the brain dump printables will be sent straight to your inbox. 🙂
Do you like doing brain dumps? Leave a comment and let me know!