If you could watch your brain for just five minutes, you would probably freak about the different things you try to understand, process, analyse, retrieve, and commit to memory.

It’s a complex process. Hundreds of thoughts cross your mind everyday.

Most people have a tendency to let things build up and procrastinate until they get overwhelmed.

When your brain is restless and stressed, you will begin to fall out of healthy routines and habits.

But you can fix that.

Organise all things in your brain with a brain dump

“If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.” — Jim Rohn

Ever wondered why history’s great minds including Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Maya Angelou would spend so much of their precious time writing things that will never be seen by another soul?

Writing things down helps you prioritize, clarify thinking, and accomplish your most important tasks, over urgent busy work.

It’s the best way to clear your thoughts and organize your ideas.

Judy Willis MD, a neurologist, and former classroom teacher explains:

“The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.”

Want to unload all of those random thoughts swirling about in your head? You need a brain dump-a repository, as it were, for all things YOU.

What exactly is a brain dump?

A brain dump is an act of getting all of your thoughts out of your head so you are able to focus on one idea at a time.

It’s basically a time to organise everything on your mind: your worries, questions, needs, wants, important and urgent tasks, and everything on your mind.

Those things get stuck in your mind over time, distracting you regularly from the things you need to do.

The point of a brain dump is to capture the full picture of everything you need and want to do.

A brain dump is one of many ways to declutter your mind, and it can be done in a matter of minutes.

It’s a powerful tool for that can make you feel in control of your life.

If you tend to keep all your thoughts and ideas in your head, your brain will keep bringing them up over and over, making you feel overwhelmed.

You don’t want that, especially if you want mental clarity to focus on your most important things everyday.

Remove scattered notions from your mind and get them all down, then organise and follow up with ease.

Take a mental load off-it’s relaxing.

Barnet Bain, producer of the Oscar-winning film What Dreams May Come and author of The Book of Doing and Being: Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work, says a brain dump is a fertile starting point for any creative project.

When to do a brain dump

If you can manage it, a daily brain dump at the end of the day can prepare you for the next morning.

You can get this done in 10 minutes or less.

It’s the best way to start your day without thinking too much about everything you have to do.

At the end of each day, look back at what you accomplished, what you learned, what you want to follow-up on tomorrow, and what you want to pursue tomorrow.

Aim for 5 to 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to brain dump, ideally the same time every day.

If a daily brain dump is not achievable, you can commit to a weekly schedule.

You can do it towards the end of each week, on a Thursday or Friday. It’s the best time to review your week and note down everything you were able to accomplish and what need to focus on next week.

Here are some other times it’s a good idea to write your thoughts down

  • When you have a busy schedule; it helps to prioritise your tasks.
  • When you feel overwhelmed. It pays to take a break and reset.
  • When you don’t seem to be making progress.
  • When you have a lot of deadlines for work.
  • When you find a big idea. It’s the best time to write down a few details.
  • When you’re making plans in life and career.
  • When you start learning something new.

How do you successfully drain dump?

It’s a simple process.

You can use paper, notecards, a whiteboard, a Word document, an electronic device; any medium that will let you get ideas out of your brain as quickly as possible.

Now, start writing everything down.

Don’t hold back and don’t limit yourself. Let your brain jump around!

Cover everything you need to do, should do, have thought about doing, should think about doing, anything and everything without any sort of priority.

What’s distracting you. What you dread. What you feel like you should be thinking about doing. What is necessary, important, or urgent?

Write it all down.

Now step away after the process, and take a minute break.

Shortly after your brain dump session, get back to your list and start organising the items.

Start organizing your list, prioritizing, grouping everything you’ve written down.

You may change these groups over time, so just choose the simplest ones to begin with.

Mine include writing, self-development, personal projects, friends/family, and relaxation/hobbies.

… congratulations!

You just finished a brain dump!

It’s that easy.

If you keep practising, it will become a habit.

It may feel overwhelming at the beginning. But you’ll also feel accomplished and in control with time.

Regular brain dumps will help you advance goals and get things done!

Originally published on Medium.

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