A couple of weeks ago, I provided training on getting control of your week. 

In training, I wanted attendees actually to do the work I suggested. So, at each step, I gave time to complete the task.  

One of the tasks I had everyone complete was a brain dump.   A brain dump of all the tasks they had to do. No filtering or judgment. They were just to drain dump.  

In a follow-up from the training, one of the attendees shared that the brain dump exercise created some awareness and reflection and ultimately made significant changes. 

I wasn’t surprised. A brain dump can be amazingly powerful. 


What is a brain dump?

Before I share with you why a brain dump is powerful, let me clarify what a brain dump is. 

It’s a dump of everything you have running around in your head. It can be a list of tasks. It can be a list of thoughts or feelings; it can be a dump of ideas for goals or people you want to invite to a party. 

A brain dump can be done for anything you want.

For our purposes, I’m focusing on a brain dump of tasks. 

I like to brain dump with pen and paper. I find the act of writing things out helps me. Although you can also do a brain dump digitally, the choice is yours. 

Why brain dump?

At a basic level, a brain dump allows you to eliminate all the noise in your head. By getting in on paper, you can store, organize and process the information.  

I have found that you get about 70-80% of the information out quickly. Then over time, other things that have long been buried start to bubble up. This can happen over a few hours or even days. Therefore, keep your brain dump with you for a bit after your first dump.  

A brain dump can help improve your memory because writing it out can improve recall.  

Three powerful reasons to do a brain dump.

When my client shared the results of her brain dump, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised because I know that an effective brain dump can have a significant impact. Here are three powerful reasons to do a brain dump.    

  1. It helps improve your focus and productivity levels.   I use a brain dump at the start of each week. I list out all of the things I could do that week.   I then use that list to prioritize, lump similar tasks, and plan my week. By planning out the high-priority items first, I ensure that I stay away from make busy work and keep myself productive. And if I have extra time, my original list is there for me to do more.  
  2. It reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression because you stop holding it all in your head. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I start with a brain dump. I have found that when I keep everything stored in my head, I feel anxious about keeping everything top of mind and organized.   Just by taking the time to write it out, I start to feel better. The list may be extensive, but I start to see that it doesn’t all have to be done today or even by me. Try it next time you feel like you have too much on your plate.    
  3. It helps provide perspective and encourages problem-solving. Once you have your list, you can get a lot of clarity. The list often gives you a different perspective and can allow you to start looking for solutions with a complete picture of the problem.  

This is what happened with my client. When they saw the bookkeeping and accounting-type activities, they realized that they were doing a lot of tasks that they weren’t qualified to do and didn’t enjoy. They have since hired a bookkeeper and are in the process of transferring the tasks that she is not skilled in doing. This is opening her up to spend her time on t of tasks she is amazing at and can now give them the attention and focus they need.  

It works; try it.  

I know a brain dump can be a really powerful tool. However, you don’t have to take my work on it; try it for yourself.  

See the power you get when you list out everything that is running around in your head.   You will remember things you forgot, see relationships you never saw before, and gain clarity where before you couldn’t.  

I’d love to hear about your experiences with a brain dump. Feel free to email me to share.  

It doesn’t matter how bright the path is if your mind is always cloudy.


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