How to Use a Brain Dump to be More Productive

How to Use a Brain Dump

I’ve always got a lot on my mind. And, the older I get, the less I seem to be able to remember all that I need to do. That’s why I love to-do lists. They help me remember what needs to be done.

I don’t create random to-do lists, though. I try to work from master lists that have tasks which move me forward on my projects and goals.

One way I develop these lists is by doing a brain dump.

A brain dump is simply a time I set aside to write down every thing I can think of that I need to do.

I generally do a brain dump in one of two ways:

  1. Make a physical list by writing down each task.
  2. Write down each task on a separate sheet of note paper.

You can also do a brain dump electronically in a Word document or in an app such as Evernote. However, since I’m a paper planner girl, I go with the paper.

A brain dump can be very beneficial for recording the tasks you need to complete. But what do you do with your list or notes after you’ve created them?

This is the method I use to process my brain dump:

brain dump list

1. If I’ve made a list, I will highlight each task a different color based on what kind of task it is.

For instance, I have certain tasks that need to be done in the next week, so I’ll highlight them one color. Then I take those tasks and put them on my task lists on my calendar for that week.

Some of my tasks may be related to my blog. So they get highlighted another color.

After I highlight each task to decided what kind of task it is, I move each group to the appropriate place. For blogging related tasks, I put them on my blogging list. For computer tasks that don’t need to be done right away, I put them on my computer list. And so on.

note pad

2. If I’ve used note paper to write out each task, I will go through each sheet and process them one at a time.

Sometimes I don’t have time to process my brain dump right after I’ve completed it. So, when I do have time, I take my note papers and work through them individually.

I’ll look at each one and decide what kind of task it is. Then I will either do the task right then (if under 2 minutes), put it on an appropriate to-do list for the coming week, or put it on a long term to-do list for later.

A brain dump is a simple but powerful tool to help you manage your time. I encourage you to give it a try and see what a difference it can make in your life.

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