What on Earth is a Brain Dump?

Written by:

Lisa Crilley Mallis

Imagine this reality. Your brain is so stuffed with all the things you “need to do” that you can’t even begin to figure out where to start. You stare at your to-do list hoping something will jump out at you. You start one thing only to drop it for something urgent that pops up.

The quickest way to overcome this fog is to do a brain dump.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Open your eyes. Write down everything that comes to your mind. Don’t judge, don’t categorize, don’t think – just capture each thought.

Once you have dumped everything out of your brain, then you can look at each entry and decide each step. Typically those items cluttering up your mind will fall into the following categories:

  • Reminders – Pick up milk, start presentation in 3 weeks
  • Tasks – Call client, RSVP for event, send out agenda
  • Delete – Tasks that were floating in your brain but once examined aren’t really important
  • Delegate – Tasks that do not need your personal attention, but do need to be completed
  • Planning – All the projects you want to work on

NOTE:  Some of my clients are verbal processors and tend to do this exercise by speaking into an app on their phone rather than writing a list.

Now that everything is out of your brain, it is much easier to prioritize the next step. You know that feeling when you clean out a closet or drawer and feel the relief? This is your brain decluttered!

Now you have a new tool – whenever you feel overwhelmed, ineffective, unproductive or cluttered, pull out the paper (or the computer), and do another brain dump!

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