Let me paint you a picture. But not an actual picture – that’s for the art section. No, a picture in your mind. A brain, a tangled web of thoughts and goals, ideas and memories, to-do lists, phone numbers, names, faces, and the plethora of things you need to remember for work tomorrow. I’m exhausted just thinking about everything we need to know, aren’t you? Well, here’s a tool that can help – a brain dump.
Brain dumping can help you clear your mind of unwanted clutter so that you can be the best version of yourself. Here’s everything you need to know about brain dumps and how they can help you get things done.
What is a Brain Dump?
A brain dump is a system of letting all of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas flow out of your brain and into someplace else. It helps you untangle and organize those webs that cause anxiety, brain fog, and the feeling that you can’t possibly think about anything else.
During a brain dump, you just let everything go. There’s no organization to it, and you shouldn’t hold anything back. It’s a process of freely recording everything you have in your mind.
What is the Purpose of Brain Dumping?
We are so freaking busy all the time. We have to manage full-time jobs, families, home life, and so much more. It’s impossible to remember every little detail we are supposed to remember. No wonder most people feel overwhelmed and stressed out all the time. We have too much on our plates.
Brain dumping can help. The purpose of a brain dump is to clear your mind. Recording all of your thoughts and feelings someplace else permits you to get it out of your brain, to stop thinking about it. The entire process also helps you determine which thoughts, feelings, and ideas are essential and which ones you can let go. Once you identify the important tasks, you can be more productive and accomplish your goals.
How Do You Do a Brain Dump?
Completing a brain dump is straightforward. My favorite method is journaling. I grab my favorite journal and start writing. I let all of my thoughts and ideas and the things I have to do flow through me and onto the paper. I pick out the important things and organize them into easily digestible segments when I’m finished.
There are multiple ways to do a brain dump. The various methods of brain dumping help people who process information and learn things in different ways. Many people find that brain dumping into a to-do list is an easy way to keep their daily tasks organized, while others prefer to use a planner or calendar. Visual learners might prefer to use a mind map to organize their ideas.
There is no right or wrong way to do a brain dump. Everyone is different,so you should use whichever method works best for you.
How Do You Untangle Your Mind?
The entire point of a brain dump is to clear your mind. It helps you get your thoughts on paper so that you don’t have to worry about remembering them. Once you get everything on paper, you can pick out what is important and develop an action plan to focus on just those things.
However, some people don’t get much benefit from brain dumping. They prefer to untangle their minds with mediation or exercise. Everyone is different, and it’s okay to go with what works for you. Try a few different methods and stick with whatever works best.
It’s also important to mention that all of the productivity tools and resources in the world may not help in all cases. Some people are mentally ill, and others are so stressed out that writing stuff down isn’t going to help. If this describes you – please note that it’s okay! It’s okay to be struggling, and it’s okay to need professional help. A brain dump isn’t a magic pill. It’s one of many different tools, and it may help, but it may not.
Tools for Completing Your Brain Dump
Once you’ve decided to try a brain dump, you need some tools of the trade! Don’t worry; it’s nothing fancy. All you need is something to write with and something to write on. You can start with a simple pen and notebook. But if you really want to get into it, getting the right “something” is ideal.
I like to dump everything from my brain right into a journal freestyle. I write down everything, from my thoughts and feelings to my ideas and goals. Then, I write myself reminders and have little task lists in the margins. There’s no rhyme or reason to the order of what I write; it just gets written down as it enters my mind.
Once it’s all out, I start to prioritize my daily tasks, look at any deadlines I have looming, and organize my brain dump. I look for actionable things and move those over to a to-do list, and I ignore the stuff that isn’t important at the time.
One thing that helps me keep these brain dump thoughts organized is colored pens. I use blues and pinks, purples, and greens, and these fun colors help me keep track of different types of ideas and thoughts. It also keeps my journal colorful and fun!
My fun pens also make it easier to go over my journal pages and pick out important pieces of information.
A planner is an excellent brain-dumping tool for those who are more organized than I am. The best planners include space to write out reminders and task lists, and you can use the calendar feature to keep track of deadlines and due dates.
There are two amazing planners on the market, and either would be ideal for helping you with your brain dump and planning needs.
First is the all-in-one planner from Ivory Planner. This amazing tool has daily, weekly, and monthly planning sections, which can help you prioritize your immediate needs and in addition to your longer-term goals.
The second is the Best Planner Ever. The cool thing about this planner is that it includes a vision board, goal tracker, and focus wheel. It has everything you need for organizing your life. These visual tools help visual learners focus on productivity.
Brain Dump Worksheet
If you don’t want to buy a new planner or journal for your brain dumping needs, I have the perfect tool for you. It’s a free brain dump worksheet bundle!
This bundle includes five different brain dumping worksheets, each designed for different types of dumps and different types of people. There’s a mind map for the most visual learners and a freestyle page for those who want to get all their thoughts out. There’s also a checklist for those who enjoy lists and two pages that will help guide your brain dump. These two pages include sections for work, home, goals, mental clutter and more.
You can get this entire bundle for free! Give it a try and see if brain dumping can help you reduce stress and get more done.
There are a bunch of productivity apps that you can use as a brain dumping tool as well. My favorite (really because it’s the only one I’ve used) is Trello. You can create multiple boards with Trello that will allow you to organize your thoughts and ideas. It’s more of a project management app, but it can also be used for brain dumping.
Todoist is an organization app that allows you to make lists, manage tasks, and take notes. It also lets you prioritize your tasks so you can focus on the things that matter most to you. Wunderlist used to be the go-to app for this, but it’s been replaced by Microsoft’s ToDo. Each of these has its strengths and weaknesses, but they can all help you complete your brain dump if you’d prefer to have it online than on paper.
One final tool for a mini-brain dump is a simple post-it note. Post-its are great tools for jotting down important things in real-time. If you’re on a call and need to remember an important note, grab your post it and write it down.
This isn’t a full brain dump, which is about taking the time to write everything down, but the act of getting that one important bit of information out of your mind is like doing a brain dump on a microscale.
Brain Dumping Can Help Increase Productivity
Ultimately, brain dumping is a tool that can help boost your productivity. Emptying your mind of everything and focusing on essential tasks can help you prioritize and prevent procrastination. There are a plethora of other tools available to help increase your productivity. These might include time management processes like the Pomodoro method (where you set a timer and work on a specific task for a set amount of time) and other time management apps or tools. These are all items you can include in your toolkit to help increase your productivity, manage your time, reduce stress, and clear your mind.
These different tools can be used to help get stuff done, which will ultimately help you be happier in your personal and professional life. A brain dump can be a big help with that. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a chance. You might be surprised at how refreshed you feel after getting it all out.
Give Brain Dumping a Try
If you find it hard to stay on task and get done what needs to be done, give brain dumping a try. It can give you the clarity and focus you need to accomplish your goals and reduce the overwhelm, helping you maintain a stress-free life. Brain dumps can help you focus on the task at hand and actually help you reduce your workload, by showing you the things that don’t matter.
So are you ready to get more done and focus on the important things? Try a brain dump. It will help.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.