Brain dump - although I'm not too fond of the term - it is one of the integral parts of my planning system. It helps me reduce my stress levels by cutting down on overwhelm and giving me a sense of calm and control.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, you've come to the right place. Let's break down the brain dump into its whats and whys.
Here's everything you need to know about a braindump:
What is a brain dump?
A brain dump is an act of dumping all the contents of your mind onto paper. Our brain has a lot of thoughts during the course of a day, and a lot of them are actually recurring thoughts that circle back and forth and clog up all the space we have for thinking.
This leads to a feeling of overwhelm or chaos. A brain dump is simply a way of providing an outlet for these thoughts.
Once these thoughts find a place on paper, they don't have to consume that precious space in your brain anymore. The goal of a brain dump is to give you the space to feel and think about what is important.
What all can you write in a brain dump?
Essentially, anything and everything that crosses your mind. Whether it's a task to be added to your to-do list, something that you want to get done in the future, an event that is coming up, a note or a reminder that pops up in your brain, a friend's phone number or some sort of information - it can literally be anything that has been taking up space in your brain.
What we want to do here is to put ALL of these thoughts and notes onto paper so that they don't consume our thinking energy but settle down in our brain instead.
Why should you do a brain dump?
The main goal of doing a brain dump is to convert all the feelings of chaos into calmness, of mental clutter to mental clarity. We want to avoid feeling overwhelmed which is going to be attainable after we do a brain dump. We want to give our brains the space to form and think about new thoughts. If we don't do a brain dump, these are the same thoughts that are going to cross our minds over and over again and that is just going to give way to a feeling of stagnation.
By doing a brain dump in a notebook, a planner or our preferred way of noting things down, we are giving ourselves the opportunity of a clean slate, a fresh start. This feeling is integral to thinking clearly and creatively. Not only that, but this will also ensure that we start giving attention to the important things in our life instead of focusing on these stale thoughts all the time.
When should you do a brain dump?
Whenever you start feeling overwhelmed or notice your mental clutter building up, take that as an indication to do a brain dump. Another good time to do a brain dump is right before the start of a new chapter or big change in your life. Whether it's moving to a new place, starting school or a new job, getting married, adopting a pet - anything that counts as a big change for you, calls for a brain dump right before you dive into it. That way, you already have a good headstart into this new phase in your life.
Similarly, while tackling big work or personal projects, it makes sense to do a brain dump so that all your thoughts and action plan for it are all contained within this long list. For example, every time I do a deep clean of my apartment, I start off with a dedicated spread in my bullet journal. Within that, I do some sort of a brain dump so that I'm aware of all the things related to this mammoth task and I can tackle the small bits, one at a time.
For things that need a lot of brainstorming and thought-collection, a brain dump is going to help you sort all of that out in the right manner, and you'll be able to go through it much more efficiently.
How can you incorporate a brain dump in your planning routine?
Incorporating brain dumps in your weekly or monthly planning routine is just a more efficient way to clear out your brain at a regular interval because a set frequency has been established for it.
Setting a frequency also allows your brain to know that this is the bandwidth of your thought capacity, and after that has been used up, it's time for a brain dump, followed by a fresh start. This also brings in efficiency in your planning routine because you're aware of all the things you need to tackle in the coming week/ month.
The way I do it is that I do a brain dump as a part of my weekly reset. So when I sit down every Sunday to reflect on the past week and plan out the next, I will do a brain dump to transition between the two. This lets me look at how busy my week can get and what areas of my life need attention and urgency. Since I do it on a weekly basis, my brain knows that it needs to harbour a week's worth of thoughts and that is the capacity it has grown accustomed to, without feeling burdened.
Here is another post that'll help you out more.
Try to incorporate a brain dump in your own planning routine so that it's easier to get used to. Customise the frequency and the way so that it suits your lifestyle and works for your benefit.
Now that we've familiarised ourselves with the concept of a brain dump, let me know how you plan to add it to your life. If you prefer consuming my content in a video format, here's the video on this very topic: