Steps for A Good Ole Brain Dump

This has become a favorite tool for me, especially during the holidays or when things generally get hectic. You know when your mind is full, exploding at the seams, you wake up thinking of your “to do” list and can’t seem to get settled or focused. Well, welcome to the brain dump. The simple, but effective tool for creating some mental space and order. It starts by grabbing a sheet of paper and pen. Sit down for 2 minutes. (I promise you have it!) Then just start writing - everything that is on your mind, all of your “to-do’s” near and far. Write down anything that is occupying mental space. Everything from working out today, to scheduling pest control for next month, to a big project coming up after break, to making an extra copy of the key for your roommate. Write until you can’t write anymore.

Now that you have your master list, you will want to keep this handy. As you wake up in the night, add to it. As you’re driving in the car and think of something else, add to it (at the stop light!). Next, you will want to prioritize these tasks.

A-     Things that need to be accomplished TODAY

B-     Things that need to be addressed in the next 2-3 days

C-     Things that can wait to be addressed until a few days or week

D-     Things that can wait to be addressed in the next month and beyond

Write the corresponding letter to each task/to-do and then cross them off as you go. Depending on how you work best, you may color code them, create a new calendar or list that only involves the A’s etc. Play around with it, but once you’ve prioritized, your job is to focus ONLY on the A’s. You can let your mind rest and simplify your focus because you know that in the back of your mind, everything has been accounted for.

Obviously, this list will be revolving. Things that were B’s will become A’s and so on. It is an active list and an active process of continuing to keep mental focus and create space.

I want to hear from you. What worked? What didn’t? (Comment below)