The Art of Brain Dumping

Not too long ago, I did a video in our free Facebook community about how I clear my head at night. Today, I’m going to break my daily process of “brain dumping” into some easy, actionable steps!

I'm hoping it's something that's easy enough for you all to incorporate into your daily activity - I promise it will be a huge game changer for you, your business, and your life.

When I first heard this term from an early mentor of mine, I thought it was kind of straightforward: brain dumping is the act of emptying your brain's thoughts into/onto a tangible source. So that it may live there instead of in your head, and cease to wake you up at 2 AM and annoy you until it's time to get up. Just sayin.

There are certain times in my life where I just have to sit down and take it all out of my head - when there's a lot of events going on, a lot of bills come in at once, or when things just start to be a little too stressful. I decided that instead of waiting for those times to come, I should be proactive and start getting into the habit of brain dumping every night. You all know what happens when you consistently do something, right? It becomes a habit!

So, how does one brain dump? There are a ton of ways to do it. I learned long ago that I have a very linear way of thinking - meaning that I like to see things laid out in action steps to eventually reach a goal. If you are like that too, you might benefit from this strategy. Here it is, step by step!

Let it all go. I take this step to literally dump my brain, as though I'm turning over a bucket of water and just letting it all spill out. This is the step where my hand cramps up several times because my mind works faster than my pen (yes, I am of the paper-and-pen generation on this one!). Don't hold back. Everything should go on this paper.

Categorize. I go through what I wrote, once I feel sufficiently empty, and I categorize my notes. My categories look something like: Errands In / Errands Out / Business / House / Phone calls, and so on. Maybe yours will look a little different!

Fit them into my life: Then it's time to consult the calendar. Where can these items fit into your life to get accomplished? For me, naptime is huge for house/phone calls. Business usually works for the afternoons that I have a sitter, or evenings after the baby is in bed. Not everything has to fit into the next day. Don't put that pressure on yourself. A lot of this step will be figuring out what balls are rubber (can be 'dropped' and will bounce/not break) and glass (priorities that shouldn't be dropped or they will shatter).

Who knew that brain dumping had so many other benefits besides keeping a more organized life/house/business? Here are just a few changes that I've noticed over the time I've consistently brain dumped at the end of each day:

  • I feel like I've engaged in self-care by checking in with my thoughts
  • My anxiety over to-do's that aren't as fun is lessened.
  • I'm able to 'check out' when it's done - watch TV, read a book, talk to my husband - without something nagging at me!
  • When it's finally time to go to sleep, I can rest assured that I thought of 'everything' and there's nothing left to worry about forgetting.

This practice is such a huge part of my nightly routine that I went to search the Interwebs to see if anyone else has mastered this exercise. This book is a great place to start if you're thinking about the art of brain dumping for setting goals and getting more in touch with your soul, and this blog post is more suitable for the business side of brain dumping. I suggest doing the process a couple of times, and as you categorize, you'll be able to clearly see what categories get filled faster.

Want to watch more time management and productivity tips? I share these weekly in my FB group, come and join us there!

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