Mind dumping is an effective tool to improve productivity and clear mental clutter.
When I work with clients 1:1 and in small group coaching settings, one of the first assignments I ask them to complete is to do a mind dump, or as some persons refer to it as a brain dump.
What Is Mind-dumping?
Mind-dumping is the process where you clear any clutter in your mind by getting as many things as possible out of your head and onto paper. This way you have all of your thoughts and ideas in one place so that you can see exactly what you have to do, want to do, and plan how and when to do it.
Before we go further, let’s take a step back and identify what some of the “things” are that you want to get out of your heads. It’s easy to focus on just the things we believe we have or need to do daily. But, there’s more.
You also want to write down things you’re tolerating, your feelings about certain things, your hopes, your dreams, and your intentions. Why is this so important?
By taking the deeper things from your mind and putting them on paper, you’re allowing space to show up and allow you to prioritize so that you can get clear on your goals, actions, and projects.
"I am anxious at bedtime because I feel I should have accomplished so much more. Brain dump surely helps." ~ S.C
Have you ever been awakened at night by anxious thoughts of all the things you have to do or want to accomplish? In the dark or the wee hours of the morning, they can seem like an insurmountable wall.
If you could see a visual of your mind, it probably looks like a giant roller-coaster that’s making lots of endless twists and turns in the air. Not a good feeling, is it? Just thinking about it makes me feel dizzy, especially as I’m not a fan of roller-coasters.
Clutter does not exist only in a physical sense. Your mind can become cluttered, and the result is a feeling of overwhelm. So while clearing clutter from your surroundings, and even from your computer, are important it’s even more important to clear the clutter from your conscious mind through mind-dumping.
Suffice to say that when you’re overcome by feelings of overwhelm during the night, you don’t rest well. As a result, the following day your productivity takes a nose-dive and you still experience mental clutter.
I invite you to pull out a piece of paper or pen and pencil; or, if you want to use your iPhone or smartphone, that’s fine too.
- List all of the tasks or To-Do's. These will include personal, career, and business. It will include even your fun time. What you're attempting to do is to get a complete overview of all of your tasks so that you can begin to prioritize in order of importance and /or urgency
- A significant step is to create categories. Here is what that could look like:
- Personal time
- Family time
- Fun time
- Work time
- Key tasks you do on a regular basis
- Unique important tasks, etc.
Once you’ve created those categories, you’ll need to create sub-categories.
Creating categories allow you to see where you’re spending the bulk of your time. For example, under Personal Time, you could think that you only watch one hour of TV daily, yet after you spend some time working on and timing yourself, you may find that TV watching with other personal activities, like personal phone calls, consume many more hours in your day than you realized.
When I did this some time ago, I discovered that during the time I allocated for Writing, I was spending a lot more time on research than I was writing. Some adjustments needed to be made to reflect where I was spending my time.
There is also tremendous value in creating sub-categories. Here’s why. Some of your main categories may include tasks that are quite huge. Just looking at those tasks or projects may create a feeling of overwhelm. By breaking down each task into smaller pieces or sub-categories, they appear to be less daunting.
Also, as you check off each smaller task, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to reward yourself for having accomplished a goal or completed a task.
Schedule Time to Do Your Mind Dump
I hope you will schedule some time to do your mind dump in the next few days. It’s that important.
Need a little more convincing? Think of your computer. Do you have LOTS of files, videos, and images on your hard drive? Your computer has gotten a little slow and you know the cause. Then one day you decide to spend a few hours deleting hundreds of megabytes of content you no longer need. Still slow. Then you remember. The deleted files are still sitting in your Recycle Bin. You have to empty the bin and even better, reboot your computer. Ah! Now you can tell the difference!
Think of your brain as the computer you need to delete those files from. Use mind dumping to improve productivity and clear mental clutter.
What questions do you have on improving productivity and clearing mind clutter?
If you find yourself becoming challenged by chaos or clutter, you may enjoy reading my ebook, “Clear the Chaos: Maximize Productivity and Profits.”