Have you heard of “brain dump”? It’s a very effective exercise to help you clear your mind and allow you to focus on tasks on a time. The big problem a brain dump addresses is the fact that we all have constant thoughts, ideas, questions, and concerns running through our brain. A brain dump allows you to consciously address them, get them on paper, and thus keep them from distracting you later on.
Here’s what you need to do a brain dump. Get a notebook, a pen, and set aside a little quiet time to do this. If you’re more comfortable typing, open a word document or the likes. That being said, there is some real value in going the old-fashioned way of pen and paper.
Start writing everything that comes to mind. Don’t judge, don’t edit, and don’t skip over anything. Any ideas for projects, to-dos, and the likes go in the notebook. Don’t try to sort or organize them. Just let them flow from your brain to the paper. Of course you don’t have to write down random thoughts. The idea is to get all those project ideas, things you want to do around the house, new strategies you want to try at work, or even that idea you had for a novel. Order and topic don’t matter. The fact that you want to start jogging again can go right next to that list of potential new clients you want to type up.
Take your time, don’t force it and take a breather ever now and again. This exercise can be quite exhausting, but it is incredibly helpful and freeing. Think of it like a reboot for your brain that dumps all the RAM memory. It frees up a lot of space and helps you focus on the tasks that are truly important without being distracted by random thoughts.
What you do with your brain dump is up to you. You can simply tear out the pages and stick them in a drawer. There’s value in the simple act of dumping them out of your brain.
You can also go through your brain dump pages a few days later and make lists of what you want to do and focus on. For example, you may make a list of good work related ideas that you should try to implement over the coming weeks. You may also decide to cross out and disregard a lot of what you’ve written down and that’s ok too. Another list could capture any home improvement type projects you thought of that are worth pursuing.
Going through your brain dump like this allows you to sort and categorize the information into a format that you can work with, one task at a time. This is much more productive than having those random thoughts running through your head, taking up valuable brains pace.
I hope you give this brain dump technique a try. Don’t just do it once and be done. Do brain dumps as needed to help you stay focused and productive.