A complete and thorough brain dump is an integral part of both the Simplified Organization Self-Paced Course, and Work the Plan. Lately I’ve had a lot of people ask questions about it, so I thought I’d answer those questions together in a short video.
Starting a brain dump list is the best strategy for combating the feelings of overwhelm and chaotic thoughts. It’s a quick get it out of your head and onto paper trick, not a structured list. When you get all those crazy thoughts out of head and onto paper, you will often see that the craziness was all in your head. With it solid on paper, you can then analyze it without being overwhelmed.
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Here are some tips and thoughts about doing a better brain dump:
Brain Dump Summary
- A brain dump is a strategy to return to again and again, whenever you feel confused, scattered, or overwhelmed. It gets your swirling thoughts down onto paper so you can think about them and examine them and make decisions about them rather than just hold them.
- You can keep it in a notebook, on index cards, with voice memos, or on Evernote – just try to keep it in one place and make sure that place is convenient.
- Don’t try to do it all at once. Do it in little snippets of time, here and there, as things occur to you. Spend a week or more at simply getting things out of your head and onto paper, especially if this is the first time you’ve done it or it’s been years since you’ve last tried.
- Don’t worry about processing your brain dump list until you’ve spent adequate time emptying your head. What to do with your brain dump list comes in module 4 of the Simplified Organization Course – don’t tackle that until you’ve gone through the areas outlined in the previous modules. You want your first brain dump list to be as thorough and comprehensive as possible before setting up your processing containers and systems.
Taking that time to really do a thorough job here will also give your mind time to percolate and incubate ideas and connections about what on your list will be able to be deleted or adjusted or modified. Don’t be in a rush.
Having an organizational system doesn’t prevent overwhelm from ever happening again. Instead, those systems help you know what to do when you feel overwhelmed and scattered. They help you get back on track faster.