Organized people write things down.

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Declutter your mind when you write things down, right away. This is step number 2 for how to organize your life – and it’s a habit you should continue daily.

A brain dump – which means write things down – is the best way to declutter your mind. Clear your mind so you get get organized more effectively.

Whether you use a brain dump journal or just a cheap spiral notebook, a brain dump strategy will clear your mind and prepare you for organization at home. It’s the first step to declutter your mind so you can declutter your life. If you want to know how to get organized, start with a brain dump.

Write things down. All the things.

The first step for getting organized isn’t to buy containers or a label maker. The first step is to declutter your head.

We start every project and start getting organized by writing down everything in our heads. All those swirling thoughts and big ideas need to be written down on paper. When we write things down on paper instead of keeping them in our head, we can see them and think about them better.

When we write things down, we see first why we felt so crazy. We’re trying to keep track of and trying to work for too many things. When we see them on paper, we’re able to more clearly and deliberately choose where to place our attention. It gives us more objectivity as we think about what we ought to do next.

Secondly, a brain dump allows our mind the space and the freedom to actually think about those ideas creatively. It allows us to problem solve.

Our brains are not the place we want to store information or keep track of what needs to be done. So when we keep the information and reminders on paper, then we can use our brains for what they’re good at: thinking, solving, praying. So write things down for mental clarity and peace.

Dump all those swirling thoughts out of your head.

Yes, simply writing it all down will help to
  • Reduce stress by getting your thoughts onto paper
  • Reduce frustration by assigning homes to stuff, tangible & intangible
  • Reduce anxiety by knowing what you have on your plate

In Getting Things Done, David Allen exhorts us to maintain these three rules about setting ourselves up to build the habit of writing things down:

  1. Every open loop must be in your written system and out of your head.
  2. You must have as few information collection places as you can get by with.
  3. You must empty them regularly.

These collection tools should become part of your lifestyle. Keep them close by so no matter where you are you can collect a potentially valuable thought — think of them as being as indispensable as your toothbrush or your driver’s license or your glasses.

That seems like quite a commitment, but keeping something at hand to jot down notes is a frequent tip not only in organization-type books, but even in articles I’ve read about how to keep focus during devotional times. My personal ability to keep any information or reminders in my head has been practically nil the last few years.

Somehow, figure out the best ways for you to collect thoughts as they occur to you, something that can be a mostly-constant companion. You’ll probably keep several, depending on the context you are in.

A notepad in your purse or by your bed? Remember a pen!

A clipboard, binder, or notebook that goes with you and stays near at hand?

A fancy-pants phone? Maybe send yourself emails?

An iPad?

A laptop or even a desktop near the kitchen? Choose one program for note-taking!

Hey, even the good-old trick of writing on your hand or arm to keep a note until you can get it into your system will work!

Anything will work — if you do — so pick what most appeals to you and that fits your lifestyle and circumstances and run with it. The key is to learn the essential habit of ubiquitous capture.

Dump all those swirling thoughts out of your head.

Yes, simply writing it all down will help to
  • Reduce stress by getting your thoughts onto paper
  • Reduce frustration by assigning homes to stuff, tangible & intangible
  • Reduce anxiety by knowing what you have on your plate

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