It’s an all too familiar feeling for most women…knowing there is something you should be doing but not being quite able to remember what that thing is.
You’re too busy taking care of the business of life and your mind is so cluttered with thoughts that you don’t even know where to begin.
Does this sound like your life?
I get it. As women, we’re tasked with so many responsibilities. Perhaps you’re caring for your home, family, and work while also tending to the needs of elderly parents or other relatives. Maybe one area of your life tends to overshadow the other areas of your life and you feel like you’re running in circles trying to get everything done.
When you lay down at night, you can’t fall asleep quickly because of all the thoughts that are swirling in your head.
My friend, you need to learn how to do an effective brain dump.
A what? A brain dump.
Put simply, a brain dump is an exercise where you set aside a certain amount of time to write down everything that is in your head. And I do mean everything! Appointments you need to make, phone calls, emails to send, projects to complete, errands to run, what you’re going to cook for dinner, people you need to touch base with; these are all types of tasks that clutter our minds. And until you have an effective way to capture these thoughts, you will always feel anxious that you’re forgetting to do something important.
So let’s put a stop to these anxious feelings and finally figure out what’s on your mind. Once we do that, then you’ll be better able to make a plan to get things done.
5 Steps for an Effective Brain Dump
Write it down
Ok, so I know this sounds basic, but to do a good brain dump, you’ve got to write everything down. Grab a pen and paper or your favorite electronic note-taking app to get started.
Set a timer
The brain dump process can take some time. I can recall a few occasions where I sat down to do a brain dump but I literally could not think of anything to write down.
However, at least attempt to get some things out of your head by setting a timer for 15-20 minutes. Blocking off that time is very doable. You may need to do this a few times over the course of a couple of days. But it will be worth it. And, I know you will see great results.
Do the brain dump
I’ve already mentioned several things you could write down. Just make an effort to write down as many things as you can think of. If it’s on your mind, write it down. Even if you’re thinking about a relationship or what someone said, these are all valid things to write down. You want to come to the end of this time feeling refreshed because you’ve gotten everything down on paper.
Once your timer goes off, spend a few minutes looking over your list. You may notice that you have several things written down that relate to one specific area of your life. Or you may see that your feelings are really at the forefront of your mind right now.
Look over your list and see if you can find some commonalities. This will be helpful as we go to the next step.
This is where a brain dump becomes so helpful. It’s time now to process each thing you wrote down to see what value it has in your life and what you will do with it.
During this step, I like to apply what I call the “Three Ds.” Delete, Delegate, Defer.
- Delete-This is where I look over my list and see what items can be totally deleted. These would be things like tasks that are no longer relevant to my goals, tasks that someone else has taken over, responses to something where the deadline has passed, or things I’m just not really interested in doing and don’t need to be done.
- Delegate-If you can hand off a task or project to someone else, I highly recommend you do it! After all, we only have so many hours in a day to do things. We will always need the help of others if we want to maintain our sanity. Look for things like chores your spouse or children can begin doing, projects someone else would be better suited to take on, or tasks where you could hire help to get them done.
- Defer-Often there are many things on our mind that we really want to do but there is no set time to have them done. Perhaps you have several items on your list that fall into this category. If you find you still have a lot on your list even after deleting and delegating tasks, then you’ll want to make sure you can identify several things that can be done at another time. Say within the next few months or year.
Once you go through the “Process” step, you should have a more manageable list to work from. You should be able to see what areas of your life need the most attention. I promise the clarity a brain dump will bring is so worth it!
Leave a comment and let me know how a brain dump can work for you.