Make a list! The perfect way to dump your brain.

Make a list! The perfect way to dump your brain.

Let’s start with “what is a brain dump, and why do you need it?”.

Do you recognise this: you try to keep appointments, to-do-things, grocery-lists, what do do with your dogs, who to call, and what day of the week it is all in your head. Or you write some of the stuff down – but not all. Good ideas, bad ideas, solutions to problems, problems without solutions, and sometimes other people’s stuff too.

The constant fear of forgetting something. Thoughts popping up in your head at 4 am. Double-booking things. Double-checking things in your head to remember it. It is exhausting!

More than that: your brain is not made for it. Your brain is fantastic at a lot of things, but prioritizing is NOT one of them. That’s why your brain is really persistent that in the middle of the night you HAVE to think about what your husband’s sisters daughter may want for her birthday. It is The Biggest Problem Of All Problems. And that’s why your brain keeps double-booking your appointments, and that’s why it’s really, really hard to keep everything in your head at once.

That’s where the “brain dump” comes in. Instead of keeping everything in your head – write it down. All of it. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be in a “good order”. Just get it out of your head and down on paper (or into your mobile or computer or whatever). I practise my handwriting as I do this, it’s perfect 🙂

Now that you can see clearly what’s on your mind, you can start to categorize it. If you are like me, two things will stand out.

  1. It’s a lot less than it felt like when you tried to keep it all in your head.
  2. Some of it, you can just cross out right away. Maybe it’s not a good idea at all, maybe it’s not a priority right now.

Some of my lists for my upcoming week in an RV with husband and three dogs…

I categorize in lists (and as I have used this system for some time, I often think in lists…). I have one list per topic, and I also have one “task list” for each month and week, and one “someday maybe” list. Things I need to do, I put in my calendar right away (future log, monthly, or weekly most often). Things I might want to do when I have time is on the “someday maybe”-list.

To my aid, as I keep my journal at home, I have google calendar and a tasklist (I use “todoist”) in my phone. That way I can write stuff down the instant I think of it. Perfect!

Any of you recognize parts of this? I’m not the one who invented it – credit goes to David Allens “Get things done” and in swedish it’s easily explained in Moderskeppets course “Ordning och reda för kreativa” that builds on GTD.

And another thing: when you write things down, actually write them with pen and paper, you engage more of your senses and more of your brain. That means that you remember better. The rapid logging system helps your brain to prioritize. Different colours help your brain remember what belongs together. Doodles help you remember. Bullet Journal FTW!

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