How to Complete & Organize an Effective Brain Dump for Business + Personal
Do you ever just feel so overwhelmed you aren’t even sure what to do next? Do you sit down to get some work crossed off your organized list but your mind is racing and you feel uneasy? This basically happens to me once a week.
I am a planner. I thrive with organization, lists, and feel a sense of “awe” crossing that completed task off the list. But, in order to get to this point in my week I need to delete some of the “tabs” that are open in my brain.
A weekly (ok, sometimes, more than weekly) is a strict must for me. Getting all of the to-dos, no-essentials, business planning, appointments ad etc out of my head allows me to reflect and implement effectively.
Enter, the Brain Dump.
A brain dump is exactly what it sounds like—a chance to get everything out of your brain and onto paper. You create room in your mind my decluttering and quieting your mind, you process and organize exactly what you need to do going forward.
Why you should Brain Dump
According to David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, a brain dump will help you to identify everything that’s not on “cruise control” in your life.
Getting everything out of your brain helps to increase productivity, reduces stress and anxiety since you will not have random thoughts floating around and you are able to stay on task for longer periods without distractions.
In order for you to get the most out of your brain dump is important to get clear on why.
Ask yourself these questions:
What’s the goal or purpose of this idea – why do you want to do it?
What are you hoping it will achieve for your life, business, etc.?
Brain dump in order to simplify a project or big idea
Have you ever thought of a great idea, product or service you want to offer? But, getting it from idea to fruition seems overwhelming? A specific brain dump around this project may be beneficial in order to simplify the process.
Before you start, answer these questions:
What will it take to bring your idea from concept to complete?
What are the specific actions you will need to take to get from point A to B?
What is your timeline for this idea? Is it a soft or hard timeline?
What amount of effort will be required of you to complete this project?
Are you able to outsource or delegate out parts of this project?
What’s the desired end result? Examples, an income goal, to target a new audience for your biz, facilitate other areas of your business?
Does this new idea align with your existing business?
How to Brain Dump
The actual process of a brain dump is simple. For 10-15 minutes jot down everything that is lingering in your thoughts. Don’t worry about keeping this organized or with bullet points -- you should focus on getting your thoughts and to-do’s on paper. It’s okay to be messy here.
Remember, do not just write everything that is upcoming, write down anything you think you may forget as well.
Processing your brain dump
Before you go any further, take a step back. Get up go grab a cup of tea or coffee. It’s important to take this quick break to allow your brain to process all of the information you just processed.
Now let’s get started with organizing your brain dump
Grab a new sheet of paper and organize it into quadrants, and label based on your priorities and tasks. Some examples are; personal, business, home, family, etc.
Go through your brain dump, read each item and organize it into the quadrant it applies to.
Once you have categorized your brain dump, read through your list, are their any items you need to elaborate on? If, so, add the content to the corresponding area.
Now it is time to prioritize each task, for example, complete today, tomorrow, this week, next week, near future, etc. Use colored pens or highlighters to prioritize these tasks.
Now, breakdown these tasks into bite-sized pieces with due dates. Add them to a Trello or Asana project for extra accountability.
A brain dump is the starting point to getting your thoughts and tasks organized. By knowing how and when to do a brain dump, you’ll be able to effectively manage your thoughts and tasks.
Once they’re out of your head, you won’t have to worry about them and you can start creating a plan to finish them.
Ready to get started? Click below for your free brain dump worksheet.
is a business efficiency strategist who supports bloggers, coaches, and creatives create and implement efficient systems so they can build a thriving business. You can learn more about how to simplify + automate your business with Amy here or follow her on Instagram.
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