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Brain dumps are a great tool for getting things off your chest and out of your mind.
You can use them to get rid of bad habits or negative emotions. Brain dumping can even help you figure out what you want to do next in a hard situation.
Most often we can’t make a decision because there is so much running around in our minds. The key points are floating around like butterflies and it’s difficult to keep track of them all.
Causing you to feel like you aren’t making a very good decision or you just don’t know what to do.
That is where a brain dump getting everything out of your mind and on a piece of paper will help you calm your mind and organize it all.
You don’t have to be a creative person to do them, they are like doing a brain decluttering session.
- What Is A Brain Dump
- Why Do A Brain Dump
- So You Can Be Present
- Brain Dump So You’re More Productive
- How To Do A Brain Dump
- Mind Mapping A Brain Dump
- Can I Do a Digital Brain Dump?
- Paper Vs Digital
- When should you do a brain dump?
- Organizing Your Brain Dump On Paper
- Using Color-Coding To Organize Brain Dumps
- More Ways To Do A Brain Dump
- Brain Dump Tips
- Keep Your Brain Dump Separate From Your Journaling
- Walk Away From Your Brain Dump List
- Brain Dump Example
What Is A Brain Dump
Brain dumping is simply getting out a piece of paper and writing down what is floating around in your mind.
You don’t have to light a candle or have a special brain dump journal.
Just get out a piece of paper and write.
A brain dump is a way that you get all of your thoughts, ideas, and feelings out in the air so that you can start making sense of them. If there’s something bothering you, you can get rid of it by writing it down.
Why Do A Brain Dump
You know how you get overwhelmed with stuff in the barn or at the end of the gardening season everything is just thrown…. well… everywhere…
Instead of being cluttered with pots, hand trowels, and seed packets, your brain gets cluttered with thoughts.
Too much stuff cluttering up your space causes MASSIVE stress.
Instead of trying to push through the gardening season with a mess on your hands the best thing to do is to organize all of the stuff right? You wouldn’t just put blinders on and hope for the best right?
Well, you shouldn’t ignore your brain when it feels like that either. It will cause you to not work as efficiently and you will be stressed out.
It might seem silly at first, but writing down all of your thoughts can be helpful. You might be wondering, “What good is writing down my ideas going to do?”
Well glad you asked.
A group of researchers found that getting rid of your mental stresses in free-form writing frees up mental space and resources so you can complete tasks more easily. Pretty cool right.
Brain dumps work because they make your thoughts and feelings more tangible.
When something feels more realistic, it enables you to find solutions you might not have thought of before. You SEE the problem right in front of you.
So You Can Be Present
Have you ever been with a loved one and struggled to stay focused on your conversation even though you are staring each other in the face?
What about reading something but you’re not really comprehending any of it?
Or maybe you are listening to a podcast but not really listening. Maybe you are doing farm chores and normally you would be enjoying your farm animals but your brain is elsewhere so you are simply going through the motions?
Yep, been there and done aaaaall of that.
A brain full of “stuff” can do that to you if you leave it full of to-do’s, gotta do’s, and need to remember.
If you have a space close by to write down what comes to mind. You can remind yourself “no, no, you don’t need to be thinking about that now. You wrote it down over here.”
Regularly brain-dumping your thoughts will help you be more present with those you love AND doing important tasks.
Brain Dump So You’re More Productive
If you’re trying to remember a long list of things, then you’re defiantly not as focussed on the task at hand. And, having a well-organized brain dump list will help you create an action plan for crossing things off your to-do list.
When you see multiple tasks that are close together or can be done at the same time you save a lot of time.
If you see two choices in the bathroom that need to be done. Do them at the same time.
Or let’s say you need livestock feed and you also need to take movies back to the library. Then you would do them on the same trip to save time and gas money.
How To Do A Brain Dump
You can set a timer if you need to but if you are feeling really stressed I would much rather you take all the time you need and not put a time limit on yourself.
Don’t play music because that is not going to let you focus on what is in your mind.
Get a piece of paper and write. Just write until you can’t think of anything else.
You can write things out in a list or you can just free-write. It truly doesn’t matter.
If it is not a list of tasks but rather you are feeling frustrated about something and you needed to get it out of your mind. Maybe you don’t need to organize your brain dump.
Maybe you should just throw it out. I will get to organizing strategies later.
Mind Mapping A Brain Dump
This is a more organized style of brain dumping to help organize your tasks and the things you find floating around in your mind.
You don’t write down your thoughts as they occur; instead, you categorize them as you go along based upon their relationship to each other.
But I don’t think this helps you fully empty your mind because of the parameters it sets around doing your brain dump exercise.
If you want to give mind mapping a try you would write your topic categories across the top and write each task that relates to the category underneath that.
Mind-map categories could be:
- Events/Places to be
Can I Do a Digital Brain Dump?
Meeeaaa I’m not thrilled with this idea. Especially not right away. There is something powerful about handwriting things out pen to paper that clears your mind and helps you remember things better. You may not even have to look back at your task list.
But if you are not a paper person and it works for you then go for it. Do what works best for your brain.
Just give it a try though because you might be surprised how well it will work on paper.
Paper Vs Digital
I used to think brain dumping was a waste of time. Or at the very least that I could use a google doc to write down what I needed to. ( I type WAY faster than I can handwrite.)
But once I started doing it by hand I felt more in control of the times when I would get overwhelmed by aaaaalllllll the things that needed to get done.
Some of the best reasons to handwrite things are:
- It helps with brain fog.
- You don’t have to be online to write down ideas and thoughts.
- If you’re having trouble remembering something, writing it out helps.
- Writing things down makes it easier to recall them later.
- Most of all writing down what is in your mind by hand will help you CLEAR YOUR MIND and be able to rest.
When should you do a brain dump?
Anytime you are starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Or if you are like me and your mind is starting to feel like a 5 lane highway at 5 o’clock that is a good time too.😜
The idea is to do it BEFORE you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. If you feel yourself saying “I have so much to do” Or “life is crazy right now.”
That is a good time to do a brain dump.
Some Think You Should Set A Routine
I can see this being helpful if you are regularly struggling with a lot on your mind. If you have not gotten into the habit of it then test. A routine is helpful.
BUT again I fall back on putting parameters on something that is meant to be free-flowing and happen more naturally can cause it to not be as helpful.
Organizing Your Brain Dump On Paper
After you have done your initial brain dump writing everything down and you can’t write anymore. Go through and read what you wrote. Are they tasks that need to be done? Are they thoughts you have about things?
Ask yourself if they are important or if it was simply something you needed to get out of your mind.
Now go through and cross those things off the list that don’t need to go any farther. That’s it. They are done and don’t need to be thought of again.
Now go through and find things that need to be completed. Highlight those OR write them on a separate to-do list on its own sheet. Make sure to add a date and time they need to be completed.
If they are things like text your mom or remind your husband about xyz, could you do them right then and there?
Check off the things you can do right then and there.
Using Color-Coding To Organize Brain Dumps
Similar to above after you have written out your list and crossed out everything on the thought list that doesn’t need to go any further.
Get two to three colored markers or highlighters.
Not too many more than that because if you do it gets hard to remember the colors.
On a separate piece of paper write a color code with the colors you have. So you know what each one is for.
Some categories I would recommend are:
More Ways To Do A Brain Dump
It really doesn’t matter what you use to do a brain dump. If you are thinking about a specific thing and you want to get your thoughts out about that topic you can also write about that.
It could be something as simple as your garden project ideas or your small farm dream list.
Use Sticky Notes
Using sticky notes to write out your brain dump is a cool idea because as you do things you can throw away the sticky notes. It creates a better feeling of getting things done.
Plus it cleans up your list for better focus instead of adding more scribbles and marks on the paper.
BUT stickies are not cheap so if budget is a concern you may not want to do this method often. But small sticks from the dollar store are a great option.
Using A Digital Tool.
I still think pen and paper is best.
But besides that, there are other tools you could use to get the job done.
Tools that are a task management system like Trello and Asana are a space you could use to pour out your tasks and ideas for almost anything.
You can easily put one idea in a list and organized your list or delete things completely.
Consistency is key with the organization. So if you can’t do something regularly I would try to find another way.
Brain Dump Tips
- It’s best to do it when you have little to no distractions.
- Don’t think it has to be perfect.
- Brain dumping by nature is messy.
- Make it fun. Not something you “have to” do.
- Set a time limit for your brain dump only if you are feeling busy and need to know that you haven’t taken too much time. Otherwise, this should be a time to set your mind free.
Keep Your Brain Dump Separate From Your Journaling
Brain dumping is not journaling.
Journaling is to be more organized and thoughtful. Writing things you want to keep for years to come.
Brain dumping is a way to get a dumpster fire out of your head and organize the list.
You don’t have to keep a special brain dump notebook and to be honest and to be honest, I wouldn’t want you to keep your notes any longer than you have to.
The whole idea is to do a brain download and free up your mental space.
Walk Away From Your Brain Dump List
Once you have completed the brain dump process and your brain feels’s calmer.
You might need to just walk away and come back later to organize the list.
It’ll help you get organized and prioritize. As well as thinking clearer when you are ready to organize the list.
Brain Dump Example
You can use your brain dump list to put tasks on your monthly calendar to keep track of an upcoming event project you want to take action on.
I like to use printer paper over a spiral notebook because again it gets rid of one more visual element keeping it neat and clean.
Here is an example of a brain dump. I didn’t go crazy because I didn’t want to overwhelm you. But this list could be 20 items long.
Here is how I would go through and organize the list off the bat.
I cross out any thoughts that don’t need you to take action on. It just calms your mind to get that thought out on paper. So you cross it out. You don’t need to tell that person they drive you crazy.
Then I take one color and write the date and underline the task that needs to be done by a certain time.
Then I take a second color and underline what can be done right now ( you probably have your phone close by so you can text your friend right then) and the rest as soon as you get up.
You could work from that sheet or add the tasks to your planner. Whatever works for you. The more crazy life gets the less I get attached to hour-by-hour planning and more focusing on what needs to be done on a task list.
Notice how none of these are perfectly written or beautiful. It just gets the job done and that all it needs to be.
Let me just tell you that you don’t need to have someone help you through this. You have the ability to do a brain dumping session on your own.
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