Ever put off something that is kind of important?
Maybe for like, a day?
A whole year?
::raises hand slowly::
I can be super forgetful, especially about things that are pressing. And ESPECIALLY about things that are NOT work related.
My brain is clogged with a ton lists. To do, to buy, to drop off, to pick up, to order, to clean, to share, to try, to post… I mean, it is endless. And also really hard to keep track of when I try to manage it all in 1000 open tabs on the browser also known as my mind.
When I have all of these thoughts and ideas floating around in my head it’s easily to forget some of them.
It is also just as easy to get overwhelmed. My mind goes wild and I get anxious. When I have so much to tackle and so many things I want to explore I honestly sometimes can’t breathe until I get them all down on paper.
Enter my go-to strategy for feeling less anxious- the brain dump!
What exactly is a brain dump?
I am sure you are wondering, “what is a brain dump and how is this different from a to do list, Stephanie?”
A brain dump is essentially putting a pen to paper and quite literally, spilling its contents onto the page. You are getting it ALL OUT so you can have clarity. Both on what needs to get done AND mental clarity so you can feel less overwhelmed.
Brain dumps differ from to-do lists in the sense that a brain dump can be things you need to do, but also things you want to try or simply ideas you have that you don’t want to forget!
When would you do a brain dump?
I use brain dumps all the time for different reasons! Here are a few examples…
⚬ When I simply have reached the point where I can’t breathe and I need to visually see all of the things I have been meaning to get done, no matter what time frame they have to happen in.
⚬ When I am about to go on vacation and I need to get organized on what to pack, my agenda and what I still need to book, reserve or order.
⚬ When I need to clean/organize my house. This is a big one for me because I hate clutter. I actually just did a brain dump on this and some of the things I jotted down were: organize linen closet, change sheets, fold laundry, put away laundry, clear out closets and donate clothes.
⚬ When I am planning a party or an event.
⚬ When I need to get organized on my content. I will often use a brain dump to write down ideas for blog posts, captions, photos and live videos.
How can you organize a brain dump?
There are so many ways to dump- and none of them are wrong. Some people like a plain sheet of paper with no separation of thoughts. I have done it this way in the past, and although it does get the job done, I still feel a bit unorganized because there is no order to what I write.
After years of dumping I feel like I have found a great system. I use a piece of paper separated into quadrants.
Sometimes I label the quadrants (I’ll give you ideas for this below) and sometimes I don’t because my brain dump is a more general one (like when I have a ton of random tasks that I need to get done). But generally speaking four quadrants is enough space for me to not only dump everything but also allows for general organization of thoughts. I can then go on to make smaller to-do lists out of my quadrants if I need to.
How can I label my brain dump?
I find quadrants to be super helpful. They allow me to focus and even sometimes jog my memory so I don’t forget anything!
Here are a few ways you can label your quads:
-To do, to buy, to try, to get rid of
-Today, this week, this month, this year
-Immediate, soon, later, down the road
-Urgent, important, less important, least important
–Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter
-Family, business, side gig, self care
-1st quarter, 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter, 4th quarter
You can also make your own more specific labels like this real-life example I use before a trip…
To pack, to book/reserve, to buy, to organize
Or, if you just need to get it all out, don’t label the quadrants at all – just have at it!
As you can see, I am preeeeeety enthusiastic about brain dumps! It is truly the number one way I gain clarity and stay focused! That’s why I am sharing my free brain dump printable (which is perfectly separated into four quadrants!).
I hope it helps you tackle everything from giving the dog a bath to crushing goals at work!