Declutter Your Mind With A Brain Dump

woman thinking of what to write - decluttering your mind

Do you need a way to harness your brain when it’s racing in all directions and you feel like you can’t catch up? Have you ever felt guilty because you told someone you’d pray for them and then you forgot all about it?

I’ve experienced all of the above and more, but most of these problems were solved after discovering a simple technique that helps me to capture and track all that I need to remember. It’s called a brain dump and this method can help you declutter your mind.

What Is A Brain Dump?

A brain dump is a way of emptying all of your thoughts and recording them all together until they can be dealt with one by one. 

You’ve likely done a brain dump sometime in your life without even calling it such a name. If you’ve ever kept a running grocery list on the fridge or made a packing list before vacation, you’ve done a very specific type of brain dump. 

The term “brain dump” is a popular current name for this technique, but several other names that I found for it are: brainstorm; think tank; mindless wanderings; train of thought; and brain download.

What Is An Example Of Brain Dumping?

So, you get it. A brain dump is simple, but since some of us (namely, me) tend to overcomplicate, we may never get started if we overthink it. Remember that the purpose is to declutter your mind, not fill it with unnecessary extras.

There are many types of brain dumping. From a list of home improvements to a list of day trips you’d like to take, there are more things you can include in a brain dump than I can list.

Brain Dump Examples To Declutter Your Mind

  • Tasks that need done
  • Places you’d like to go or activities you’d like to do when summer comes
  • Christmas gift ideas or wishes
  • The steps needed to start a garden
  • Home repairs that need to be made
  • Calls or appointments to make
  • Concerns or praises to include in your prayers
  • Seasonal cleaning tasks
  • Items you need to buy (groceries, gifts, supplies. etc.)

Benefits Of A Brain Dump

Getting your thoughts all out of your mind can be a huge relief. When you have listed everything you can think of, you can relax and enjoy life. You no longer need to stress over trying to hold onto your entire list by memory.

Some of the benefits of decluttering your mind with the brain-dumping technique:

  • It helps you prioritize by identifying what’s important and what isn’t
  • A brain dump reduces anxiety and mental fatigue
  • It helps your ability to concentrate
  • Using the brain dump technique helps declutter your mind 
  • You can be more productive
  • You can also accomplish more in less time
  • A clear mind may even help you to sleep better
weekly planner page decluttering your mind

How To Declutter Your Mind With A Brain Dump

There is no set way to do a brain dump, as it all depends on how your brain works. You don’t need any particular order or organization to make your list. You can use paper and pen or a digital method, such as a notetaking or list-making app. If you’re using paper, you don’t even have to write on the lines. Just scribble out everything that comes to mind. 

Go ahead and let yourself daydream as you formulate your list, letting one thought lead to another, and don’t feel a bit guilty for what may seem like a waste of time. Doing this can multiply your productivity by leaps and bounds. 

Once your thoughts are emptied onto your list, you can start to organize the list. My favorite way of doing this is by color-coding. I have found that the most helpful kind of brain dump is one that keeps everything on one list, at least to get started.  

Don’t worry if you think your list is too long, or too short. You’ll learn to manage it, whatever the size, as you move on in the process. 

I have a short planning session each week where I dump everything that comes to mind on paper, and then as I continue through the week, I add what else pops into my head in real time. 

My process is very simple. I write my list out every week in a blank space on the current weekly page of my planner. If I find myself writing the same things, again and again, each week, I start to think it may be time to push a little harder to complete some of those repeating tasks. 

Just in case you like guidelines, I’ve written down my simple 1-2-3 process for getting the most out of a brain-dumping session. 

  1. Take no more than 15 minutes to get it all out on paper or digitally. 
  2. Determine how many of these items or tasks you can complete in the next week and schedule them on your calendar or planner.
  3. Each week rewrite the items that are still on your list and continue to add more to the list as they come to your mind.

And from there, just repeat weekly. You could also choose monthly, but I find that a weekly plan keeps me more accountable to my list and I stay on track better. 

Your brain dump is for you, to make your life run more smoothly. So, feel free to make any alterations that help you to be more productive.

You could do the brain dump more or less often than weekly. You could even categorize the tasks into various parts of your life, such as work, home, and family. This technique works with any customizations you like.

As you get comfortable with the brain dump, use it however it works best for you. If you get derailed, go back to the beginning and make a whole new list. If something wasn’t working in the system, pinpoint it and make changes.

You might also enjoy Inspirational Bible Verses For Direction And Clarity to help with clearing your mind. And if you need some help with a routine for your mornings, this Printable Morning Routine Chart: The Key To Productive Mornings will be helpful.

Free Printable Brain Dump Worksheet

free printable brain dump list to declutter your mind

Weekly Planner Page With Brain Dump Worksheet

free printable weekly planner with brain dump list to declutter your mind

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