What is a Brain Dump?

Have you seen brain dumps floating around and ever wondered “what is a brain dump?” Here is a great break down on brain dumps and their benefits.

arial view of a brain dump printable with a blue pencil. text reads: what is a brain dump? and how will it help me?

Brain fog is real

I know you’re with me – you know you have to do a to-do list but can’t seem to find the motivation to sit down and actually create it. So more and more things get caught up in your brain fog and it makes it harder and harder to sit down to make the to-do list. Which just creates a horrible cycle. Enter – brain dump.

Arial photo of a brain dump printable with a blue pencil across the sheet. There is a kindle e-reader, bright yellow candle and blue green water bottle in the corner.
Get this brain dump printable on Etsy for under $2! Click on the photo

What is a brain dump?

A brain dump is when you take a piece of paper and write down everything that’s stuck in this brain fog – thoughts, feelings, tasks, to-dos, etc. You can use a paper that already has categories for you (link above!) or you can use your own paper with your own categories. Writing it down gets it all out of the brain fog and into motion.

What is the purpose of a brain dump?

The purpose of a brain dump is to take all of the thoughts and feelings in your brain out of your brain and onto paper. This allows you to organize and prioritize them. Getting them on to paper can really help you realize how much work you do (or don’t) have and you can start to prioritize or even take some unnecessary things off of your list.

It takes your thoughts and tasks and makes them real. They’re no longer words clouding and fogging up your brain. They become real and allow you to take action.

Arial view of a brain dump printable with tasks and writing on it and a blue pencil draped across.. In the corner there are 2 gray and white small vases.
Click on the photo to snag this brain dump printable!

How long should a brain dump take?

This is really a personal preference. I like to set a timer for myself for about 10 minutes. If I don’t think of something within that 10 minutes, I know that it is likely not that important and not a big deal if it is forgotten. Some people need a timer and some don’t – try it both ways!

What is a brain dump in a bullet journal?

A brain dump on a bullet journal is very simple – it’s just a regular old brain dump but using bullet journal paper. You can use the dots as guides to create your own categories.

Arial view of a bullet journal page with a blue pencil draped across.
Click on the photo to grab this bullet journal printable for under $1.

How will a brain dump help me?

A brain dump will help you in SO MANY WAYS! I know you know the feeling of having 3,784 thoughts and tasks running through your head. You’d be amazed at how quick a lot of those tasks can get done and how much work it actually ISN’T. Getting it all written down and categorized will help you visualize this.

What do I do after I’ve done the brain dump?

Take all of your tasks (and feelings/thoughts) and categorize them. I like to use these categories for my brain dump:

  • What is my focus?: Do I have a deadline? What should be my main focus right now in getting things done and sorted after my brain dump?
  • Quick 5-10 minute tasks: What are the quick tasks that will only take me 5-10 minutes that I can just get out of the way or add to my quick task list for small pockets throughout the day?
  • Top 3 priorities: top 3 things that have to get done asap.
  • Needs breaking down: Which tasks are larger and need to be broken down into smaller tasks/projects? You can use this template for a project planner.
  • Can be put off: What can I put off? What isn’t pressing?
  • Can delegate: What can I delegate to someone else?

Unfog Your Brain!

So, the next time you’re feeling a little foggy in the brain, sit down with a piece of paper (or brain dump template) and get that fog out of your brain and onto paper so you can start taking actionable steps to clear it up.


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