Nitin is a certified life coach, executive coach, writer, husband, and father. His passion is to help people become their best version.
Do you ever feel so burdened with all the things that need to be done that your brain literary freezes?
Do you have so much work to do ahead of you, that you are lost and confused about where actually to start? This state of mind is considered by many people as being successful. They seem to think that if you have a huge workload, and no time to do it, then you must be a very successful person.
But my experience has been that when I come to this stage, I don’t feel like doing anything and I certainly don’t feel successful.
Most of us have the habit of leaving some work undone and allowing it to build up. Slowly but surely, these undone works get accumulated and make you feel overwhelmed.
What is needed in these situations is performing a brain dump. It's like cleaning up the clutter on your desktop. The brain can function much better when there are not many things stored in it.
In this article, we will learn what exactly a brain dump is and how to use it to increase your productivity.
What Is a Brain Dump Actually?
The brain dump is a term used to describe the unloading of the confusion, chaos, and clutter inside your head onto a more permanent place, like paper.
A brain dump releases you from all the concerns and worries that you carry in your mind. It’s the act of removing all your concerns, anxieties, and feelings from your brain and transfering them somewhere else.
This "dumping" can be very effective because it turns unseen thoughts into visible items like words on paper.
When you are in a state of mind where you are stressed, you are unable to do anything.
But you transfer your thoughts on paper, you not only release your mind from tension, but you also have concrete goals written down in front of you.
It is a good idea to have a brain dump every 15 days or whenever it is needed. Doing a brain dump helps you work more efficiently and be more productive.
When Is it Good to Do a Brain Dump?
- When you see you are unorganized.
- When you have many new projects.
- When you feel very emotionally vulnerable.
- When you are planning for the new year.
- When you have a very important event ahead of you.
- When there are a lot of undone tasks on your list.
Apart from this, whenever you feel that trigger going off, you can do a brain dump.
How is a Brain Dump Done?
Given below are the five steps to doing a successful brain dump.
1. Journal Everything
Sit down with a pen and paper. The paper could be simple, ordinary paper, a diary, a special daily journal, or a yearly planner that has a place for special notes.
If you prefer you could perform your brain drain by digitally typing it in a Word or Notepad document on your laptop or desktop.
Once you have found the best way to note down everything that has been stressful for you, make sure to note down every small thing on your mind that is bothering you.
There doesn’t necessarily have to be any order in which you write them down.
That list could include things like:
- Pay utilities.
- Put gasoline in the car.
- Check emails.
- Cut grass in the backyard.
- Buy groceries for the home.
- Buy mum’s birthday gift.
- Spend quality time with my wife/husband.
If there is anything that is bothering, you just write it down.
2. Create Some Order
After writing down all your worries and concerns, take a clean sheet of paper for a new page, and categorize everything you have written down.
Make categories like personal, home, work, urgent, important, or any other categories that you want to divide it into.
3. Take a Break
It is important at this point in time to take a break. Take time to do something else like going out into the forest or on the beach. Just go out to do a little bit of shopping or walking to get your mind on something else.
4. Prioritize and Assess the Situation
Now that your mind is clear, go through your written list with a calm and cool mind.
Think about possible ways to finish the tasks on your list. Find out if you could enlist the help of other people to get some of the tasks done.
Look for things that you could do right now, like replying to an email, writing that card to mom, buying that birthday gift online or anything else.
For the tasks which cannot be done right away, label them in terms of priority. Decide the time limit to get each thing done.
The reason we have to do this is to simplify your list and increase your focus on doing one thing at a time. When you focus on one task at a time, you will become more productive and thus reduce stress and worry.
If there are emotional issues that you have, you need to address them carefully and intentionally. Give yourself time for self-care as it will be productive in the long run. Take care of your mental health and emotional health.
5. Take Action
Now that you have sorted out your to-do list, it’s time to take action.
Of course, you will require some planning and strategy to reach your goals. Written plans are more likely to be implemented.
But the mere act of decluttering your mind and organizing your thoughts by putting them down on paper has likely reduced your stress and anxiety.
Now that you know about brain dumping, it’s time for you to turn it into a habit. This will help you to maintain your mental health, physical health and enhance your productivity.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Nitin Khaire
Meenal from Singapore on April 10, 2020:
I do a special meditation process called Cleaning which helps me to dump unnecessary mental stuff which we hold sometimes for years.
On physical level..i prefer to keep house and household utilities
many other things clean. Example.I keep cleaning fridge especially the small bits of food .
Also i keep deleting the files,documents and pictures which are not useful. These days we store so much stuff on mobile phone.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 15, 2020:
I like this a lot. I will be back to read again and comment.
Nitin Khaire (author) from Mumbai on February 06, 2020:
I am so glad that you liked my article and got value from it.
We need to bring systems in our lives to make the process easier. Systems hardly fail.
Taking breaks is a lifesaver. It rejuvenates us from the inside. Getting away from routine tasks brings a freshness and new zest for life.
I love to get out in nature as often as I can. It lifts up my spirit and refreshes my mind.
Vikram Brahma from Assam, India on February 06, 2020:
Very nicely written Mr. Nitin and I especially liked point number 2 and 3 "Create some order and take a break".
And thank you very much for sharing the new concept called a brain dump. Nice :)
I really like reading new concepts and ideas a lot.