What is a Brain Dump Page
Have you ever tried to keep track of so many priorities that you felt overwhelmed just thinking about it. You did not know where to start but felt the pressure of multiple deadlines coming at you. Your mind is racing and unable to sort what is important and what can wait. These days can be tiring but there is a technique we heard called Brain Dumping that can help you sort through this mind mess. The best part is all you need is a journal, a pen, and a few minutes with your journal to bring you back to productivity.
This method is called a Brain Dump Page in your journal.
What Is Brain Dump?
A brain dump is simply the act of dumping all your thoughts, worries, to do’s and ideas onto a piece of paper. It is simply taking that to do list in your head and writing it all down in your journal. Think of it as a transfer of the information in your head onto paper. This process is effective if you do it periodically to help clear your mind.
Thinking about a lot of things all at once can lead to stress and lessen our productivity. That's why keeping a journal has always been helpful. The purpose of a brain dump page in your journal is to untangle the thoughts in your brain so that you can keep a clear mind for the rest of the day.
A brain dump is simply the act of dumping all your thoughts into a piece of paper in one continuous writing session. It is the transfer of thoughts from your head onto paper.
Why Is A Brain Dump An Effective Habit?
Thinking about a lot of things all at once can lead to stress and lessen our productivity. That's why keeping a journal has always been helpful. The purpose of a brain dump is to untangle the thoughts in your brain so that you can keep a clear mind for the rest of the day.
Just like any other journaling method, a brain dump journal has a lot of benefits when it comes to helping you become a better version of yourself.
Reduce Stress Levels
Whether you are cramming for an exam or procrastinating about a due date, a brain dump can help you reduce your stress levels so that you can clear your mind. It is important to make sure that you are free from your worries as it makes thinking a little hard if your thoughts are all jumbled around.
Free Mental Energy
Imagine your mind as your room where you can put some things neatly in places. If you do not have a clear mind, it is difficult to work inside your room as there are a lot of things you feel like you need to do before starting your actual project.
Making sure that you have a brain dump to put these minds into is a great way of freeing mental energy that you can use to be productive.
Improve Focus And Productivity
After you have translated your thoughts into a paper, you are now more focused on becoming more productive for the rest of the day. This is an extremely easy and efficient way that I use when I am too anxious to start meditating.
Part of the process of the brain dump is to reevaluate the items you thought were so pressing in your head. Now that they are on paper you are able to prioritize or give yourself freedom to just ignore those tasks. By completing the process you are improving your focus to one task at a time and this will make completing the task faster and easier.
How To Do A Brain Dump?
It is fairly simple to create a brain dump page in your journal. All you need is a few materials and a dedication to start writing.
Just like any other journal, you will need a few materials to help you better create a brain dump that will truly help you.
You can buy a new notebook to be your dedicated brain dump journal, but you can also use the notebooks that you already have. Any kind of notebooks is fine, but I prefer notebooks with blank pages so that I can freely write anything I want in any way I want without worrying if it looks good or not.
Of course, you can't start a brain dump journal without a pen. Personally, I use different sets of pens during my brain dump sessions. This helps me further differentiate what my thoughts are. For example, for things that are really bothering me, I like writing them with a red ink pen so that it is highlighted among the other things that I write in my brain dump page.
Rulers offer a more fun way of creating a brain dump. I like adding a few decorations on each page so that I am more encouraged to write down my thoughts. It's not really necessary, but it also helps me in writing my thoughts down, especially if I am writing a mind map on my brain dump.
Stickers or Tabs
Stickers and tabs are completely optional. The purpose of the Brain Dump page is to let out all the stress and worry of your thoughts and concern onto paper. Remember the purpose of the Brain Dump session is to transfer your thoughts and ideas onto paper. If stickers and tabs help this process then use them. If they add to worry or stress then just try writing at first.
The first rule about a brain dump journal is that there are no rules. You are free to write down anything that you want. There is no format or guidelines you should follow.
The main purpose of a brain dump page is to transfer all your ideas, thoughts, and concerns onto paper. The only thing you should do is to make sure that you're translating your thoughts into a pen and paper so that you can reflect on the things that you will write down.
Your nagging thoughts, annoying stressors, or simply anything that you want to write down should be written down. Let your mind dictate what your hands should write.
It's alright to have a really messy brain dump page where you write down and cross out multiple things all at once. It's a process of your brain, and you can just keep on writing until you feel like you have exhausted all your thoughts.
Try Different Brain Dump Methods
Personally, my favorite method of brain dumping is the mind map. It helps me connect which thoughts are related and helps me reflect further on other aspects that I have not yet written about.
For example, my first thought is dreading deadlines. I can simply create a new branch about a list of tasks I should do now. I can also add a branch about what steps I can do in the future to avoid having the same anxieties.
Freestyle Brain Dump (Stream of Consciousness)
Sometimes, I just write freely on the pages of my journal about anything that comes to mind. Even if it is totally unrelated to the thing that is worrying me, I still write it down, as it helps me dump all my thoughts in a paper for me to reflect on later. Just like stream of consciousness writing, you are writing what is on your mind. Here you are focused on just writing with what pops in your head. My goal is to transfer all and any thoughts in my head onto paper.
I usually do this style of brain dumping when I have strong emotions while writing. While mind mapping can be helpful for me at times, there are instances that it takes too much effort to create a mind map. That is why Freestyle Brain Dump will work because there is little effort involved.
Reflect On What You've Written
After spending some time writing everything down the last step is to decide if you want further reflection or just walk away. This is your choice.
Some people want to work through their to do list, tasks, or worries to see if they are a priority or what they should focus on. But remember it is simply OK just to walk away. The benefits of brain dumping is to clear your mind. Once you wrote everything on paper you made huge steps in clearing your mind and receiving those benefits.
If you choose reflection here are a couple of reflection techniques you can use:
Differentiate Must, Wants And Perhaps
In an article I read in Lifehacks they speak about dividing your list into three columns.
Musts: Things you are committed to doing
Wants: Things you would want to do.
Perhaps: Things you want to do but they are not a priority and you may change your mind about it later.
Read each line you've written, and listen to what your mind is telling you. The simplest way to do it is to differentiate your wants and needs based on what you've written. In this way you just prioritize your tasks. By doing so you are now completing those Must Complete tasks and not focusing on Perhaps.
Determine The Most Important Things
Another way of reflecting on what you've written is to determine the most important things that are written in the journal. Is there anything that you should be doing immediately? Are there things that you can put on hold for now?
By determining what is the most important you are assessing value to each and hopefully focusing on what provides the most value.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a common business task prioritization tool. It divides the tasks from High Urgency and High Importance to Low Urgency and Low Importance.
Tasks are divided into four categories and your priorities depend on what category each task falls under:
High Urgency and High Importance - You do these tasks immediately
High Importance but Low Urgency - You schedule these tasks for later
High Urgency but Low Importance - You delegate these tasks
Low Urgency and Low Importance - You eliminate these tasks
Walk Away On Your Brain Dump Is OK
If you don't feel like looking everything over again just simply walk away. When the benefit has been achieved, such as you have reflected fully and quieted your mind down, it is time to walk away from your journal and start to do your everyday tasks as normal. Close your notebook, and start to work on the things you need to with a clearer mind.
Some Further Thoughts about Brain Dump
While there are certainly no guidelines when it comes to using a brain dump, you can get inspired by some tips that I personally make use of when writing on my brain dump journal.
Try adding Brain Dump exercises to your weekly habits. We clean our houses on a periodic basis so we should add that devotion to our thoughts as well. Plus wouldn’t it be fun to reflect back a few months in your journal to see what you thought was a priority to just realize six months later it was not that important. Or further reflect back six months ago and realized that task you finished it producing great results for your business today.
Figuring Out Your Emotions
A brain dump is not only to keep your mind clear but also to make your emotions clearer. For example, you are facing a difficult situation, and you do not know how you feel about it yet. Writing the first things that come into your mind is a great way of reaching emotional clarity.
Personally, I use this technique weekly in my journal. It is enjoyable to periodically clear my mind and reflect on what is important. It helps me focus when feeling getting pulled in multiple directions.
The best part about doing a Brain Dump is it is inexpensive and it does not require special tools.
Try devoting a few minutes in the next couple of days and try a Brain Dump and tell us how you felt afterwards in the comments below.