Simple Ways to Do a Brain Dump

simple ways to make a brain dumpSimple Ways to Do a Brain Dump

Before explaining the simple ways to do your own brain dump, I will give you a simple explanation of what a brain dump actually is.

A brain dump is a way to take all of the clutter and thoughts in your brain and put them in a tangible list that can be referenced and dealt with at a later time. It is one of the best ways to free your brain of all the clutter, reduce stress, and get those things done that you keep putting off. 

When is the last time you had a brain dump?

A general brain dump for me is typically nothing creative or beautiful. I will designate some pages in my bullet journal – or another notebook – and sit down and literally start writing – or dumping – out  all of the things in my mind. 

These things can range from simple appointments I need to make, gifts I need to buy, bucket list trips I want to take, blog posts and content ideas, and even bigger life goals I have. 

Turns out my brain dump is a large part of my goal making each quarter and I have even reference old brain dumps from the past when I’m creating my goals. 

Prepare to spend some time when you initiate your first brain dump. Brew a pot of coffee and grab your favorite pen – or use a Google Doc or other note-taking software if that is your jam.

I prefer to write these out to start, but I do have some of my lists in a Google Doc for reference on the go.

Brain Dump can also be referred to as Mind Sweep, Brain Purge, Brain Download, Thought Mapping, or a variety of other terms. I keep it simple and call it what it is for me: “Brain Dump”, but you do you, Boo! Call it what you like. 

begin the brain dumpHow to Begin the Brain Dump

If you can think of things right away to jot down, go ahead and do that first to get them off your mind. These may be minor things that you need to do today or next week, but get them on paper now before you move forward.

Once you have cleared your brain space, move to these questions to help prompt your continuing brain dump:

  • What have I been putting off scheduling? (medical, car maintenance, or getting those taxes done with your CPA)
  • What items would I like to purchase? (We all have items we may need to replace or ‘would be nice to have” items)
  • What gifts do I need to buy over the next few months? (upcoming birthdays, baby or wedding showers)
  • Where do I want to travel or experience? (dreaming of Bora Bora like me or maybe a month long trip to Europe?)
  • What makes me happy? (tangible or intangible things that bring joy)
  • What is my bucket list? (maybe a tattoo or swimming with dolphins)
  • What needs to be fixed in my environment? (walk around inside and outside your home, yard, vehicle, etc and write down all the things that need to be repaired, cleaned, replaced)
  • What are my personal and career goals? (perhaps you dreaming of a career change or becoming an entrepreneur or starting side business)
  • What is currently stressing me out or causing worry? (you may need to build better habits with your health or in a toxic relationship) Please remember your mental health and seek professional help if needed – this is not meant to replace that type of assistance.
  • What needs to be purged? (maybe it is your closet, bathroom cabinet or garage)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

Check out some of my favorite journals, notebooks, and pens:

Continue the Brain Dump By Revisiting Old Lists

Grab your electronic devices and old planners or journals  and go through them.

Look through text messages, other app DMs, and any notes you keep on your phone and write down the things you may have forgotten to do. 

Go through old planners, bullet journals, and notebooks and revisit past ‘to do’ lists, goals, or items you may have forgotten. If they are still relevant, write them down. 

Actually get up and walk from room-to-room in your home and look around to see what needs repaired, cleaned, or changed in some way. Do that outside your home as well and even your vehicle and office. 

Another way to brain dump is by doing your everyday mundane activities such as making the bed. Maybe you need to replace sheets or a pillow; or your mattress may need to be cleaned or replaced. Write that down. Did you break a favorite dish in a set? Write down the name and size on your list so you will have that information next time you are browsing a favorite flea market or thrift.  

If you take the time to go through each of these questions, you should have quite a long brain dump list. It may be overwhelming at first and probably a mess on paper, but this is your starting point.

Now that these things are on paper, your brain should be more clear and you can tackle these items in a more organized way. 

organizing your brain dump listWhat To Do with this Brain Dump List

Now that the initial brain dump is on paper, you can let those things go from your thinking brain. Sometimes we spend so much bandwidth trying to remember all the things we need to do, we don’t take the time to actually organize and implement all those things. 

Take this brain dump list and organize it into some kind of structure. 

It will take awhile if this is the first time you have gone through the process of a comprehensive brain dump.  However, now this is on paper and can be referred to frequently. 

Taking this brain dump and turning it into multiple lists and goals is a good place to start. Some of the brain dump can be taken care of with a simple to do list with deadlines; but some of it will need to have some additional work.

If there are long term goals and bucket list items included, then you may need to put in some additional work with each one by further brainstorming, reverse engineering them, and breaking them down into actionable steps and placing them into your daily planner. 

See this post for more on how I do this: Baby Steps For Achieving Big Goals from there, you can download my free Goal Getter Guide. 

how to create a simple brain dump pinTake the First Step to Freeing up Your Brain with a Simple Brain Dump

It may feel overwhelming to think about spending the time to get everything out of your brain and into a notebook or document, but this messy and unorganized collection of thoughts will be the first step to freeing up your brain space and simplifying your life. 

Once you have gone through this process, it will be a list to refer to often. Your simple brain dump list will be the origin for new ideas, making progress on your to do list, and place to continue to add new ideas and thoughts as you have them. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

past brain dump listsSimple Ways to Do a Brain Dump

4 thoughts on “Simple Ways to Do a Brain Dump

  1. This is great! I keep a pad by my bed because often I’ll start thinking of things in the middle of the night and then I’m afraid I’ll forget them. I write them down and then I can go back to sleep. When I was a teacher I would tell my students to keep notepad next to them when they were doing homework. If they thought of something they needed to do or remember, they should write it down and then finish their homework before tackling whatever it was they needed to do. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Terrific post!
    So many things I used to do and have gotten out of the habit. A great reminder and lots of good tips!
    I am going to schedule a brain dump within the next couple days.


  3. I need to do a brain dump ASAP!

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