It’s absolutely astounding how many little and big projects we manage simultaneously at any given time. There’s so many details to hang onto – what needs to be done, by when, for whom.
It’s only natural that these thoughts will sprout to the surface and often at the least convenient time. Instead of waiting for that list to spring up on you as you’re trying to fall asleep or as you step into the shower, take some control of the process by braindumping.
Braindumping is the act of taking all the thoughts, ideas, and aspirations ricocheting around in your mind and putting them someplace you can revisit them. It’s a stream of consciousness exercise designed to extract the details of our lives and give them a place to go.
Whether you’re a diligent to-do list keeper or you have random notes strewn all over the place, this 10-minute activity can make all the difference when it comes to tracking, prioritizing, and mindfully delegating your ever-growing tasklist.
Put it into action
- Grab a piece of paper, a pen, and a timer.
I recommend doing this analog style so you don’t get caught up in notifications and distractions that live on our smartphones and computers.
- Start the timer for 10 minutes.
- Let it flow.
Once the clock starts ticking, jot down every little to-do, wish, goal, and project that you can think of. Don’t worry about repeating items or things way out in the future, just write down whatever comes to mind, as it comes to mind. If you put a big project down, try to break it down into every step you can think of. Let it be a mix of things from home, work, and play. Keep writing until your mind is totally blank or the timer stops.
- Pause for reflection.
Take a deep breath and check with yourself. How does it feel to have all your thoughts sitting together on a piece of paper? What thoughts or sensations arise as you take in the amount of information you’ve been holding onto? Take a moment to notice these thoughts and feelings and where they show up in your body with curiosity and without judgment.
Next month, we’ll dive into how you can turn this downloaded list into your map of priorities and delegations. In the meantime, build this practice into your day, week, or month. I recommend doing it at least monthly as it helps keep track of which goals are still ongoing and reveal what new projects have popped up for you.
Keep braindumping and braindump often. Give your noggin the reassurance that it doesn’t need to hang onto the details and shout them at you at inconvenient times. Let it relax knowing that you have time dedicated to letting that voice shine and show you all that matters to you.
Founder + CEO
Lover of cats, breakfast, and the ocean. Dreams of sailing the world.
Self-care go-to is sleeping.
Love it! We teach this technique as a study tool: https://www.nwtutoring.com/2019/02/11/brain-dumps/
But I also use it as you’ve described here.
Hi, Chris! Thanks for sharing your post! I love how you’ve outlined the various ways people can lay out all the thoughts and ideas on paper. What a really great way to recall everything you can about a subject matter. It’s totally wild how much we hold in our minds. It seems to always be more than I expect!