An important success principle Is to Identify and eliminate causes of stress. Start with a simple analysis by asking yourself these questions:
- Are you overwhelmed?
- Are you under a lot of self-imposed stress?
- Do you feel anxious?
- Do you worry?
- Do you find yourself procrastinating?
- Do you go through your day and feel like you haven’t accomplished anything?
- Does your mind bounce between things you want to do, have to do, and things you think you should be doing?
- Do you have a hard time falling asleep because you can’t turn off your brain at night?
- Are you overwhelmed with ideas, but no time to implement any them?
The previous questions are stressful just to read! Right? If you answered yes to any one or more of the above, you are not alone! Today’s fast paced lifestyle has left many in a constant state of stress and anxiety just trying to keep up, and then add in the dreaded social media pressure of comparing ourselves to what others are doing.
Our brains are not wired to hold onto multiple strings of information at one time. It’s like your internet browser with 30 different tabs open…you can’t concentrate, because you’re constantly clicking from tab to tab, never accomplishing anything of true significance. Add in the information overload from books, magazines, television, blogs, and social media we consume every day, and it’s no wonder that stress and anxiety are a growing health concern today.
We simply can’t fill our brains to the brim and expect it to hold everything well. This is why planners, bullet journals, post-it notes, and apps for notes and reminders on our cell phones are so effective. But where they fall short is when we have hundreds of little reminders and ideas floating around that aren’t organized, prioritized, or necessarily tied to a specific project or task.
An Essential Success Principle Is to Stop worrying about what others are doing, and what needs to get done!
Make a date with your brain! You need to relieve your mind of all that clutter, and the best way to do that is doing a “Brain Dump”!
WHAT IS A BRAIN DUMP?
A brain dump is a simple exercise of writing down EVERYTHING that pops into your mind. The only tools you need are paper and pen. Now you may say I can use my computer to make this list, but trust me, there is a hand-brain connection when you actually write. When you start doing this exercise, you not only clear your mind of all that clutter, you will be able to process and organize exactly what you need to do going forward.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Schedule some quite time for just you. Maybe it’s a Sunday morning, or an evening before you go to bed. Grab a pen and paper, and your favorite beverage. Find a comfortable space to sit where you can let your mind run free. Take a few minutes to center yourself so you can let all your thoughts land onto paper, and for your mind to wonder and dream.
Here are a few ideas on when to do a brain dump:
- At night, before you go to bed, to clear your mind.
- In the morning, when you wake up to capture fresh ideas.
- At the start or end of each week, month, quarter, or season.
- To catch a flow of inspiration and ideas.
- When you have too much to do.
- To offload your worries.
- When you feel overwhelmed.
- To capture everything for a specific project.
- To gather all the tasks for a trip or vacation.
- To unload emotions.
- To collect creative ideas.
- After an important meeting or phone call.
HOW TO DO A BRAIN DUMP
A brain dump involves getting ALL your thoughts out of your head onto paper. That includes tasks, details, thoughts, worries, feelings, ideas, everything you need to do, everything you want to do, and everything you should do, and your goals and dreams.
You can use brain dumps for a specific purpose like planning a vacation. If other things come to mind, just list them out too, but the main purpose in this case is to unload everything on a particular event or project. It may help to give each area of your life a separate page.
If you have never done a brain dump before, I suggest starting with a thorough version, that might take a little more time to get all that has been bouncing around in your head. Once it is down on paper, you’ll be able to consciously and physically handle each item because your mental energy will be freed from the burden of remembering everything you’re stressed about. You’ll be able to create a “to-do” list, put things on your calendar, set up timely reminders, and set attainable goals. Most important, you will find peace of mind not having to remember every detail.
Once you have all your thoughts written down, you’ll automatically feel more calm and able to focus. You’ll be able to concentrate on your task of the moment and not be constantly pulled away by the millions of tasks and ideas floating around in your head.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR BRAIN DUMP
Ok, you have your list, now what? It’s time to organize your list by creating categories. This will help you prioritize and create action plans. The following are examples of categories you may want to consider using.
- Daily tasks (emails, appointments, calls, projects, laundry, cleaning, meals…)
- Home (maintenance, repairs, declutter, organize, clean…)
- Holidays and Vacations (parties, travel plans and itinerary, home and pet needs…)
- Personal (goals, routines, self-care, things you want to do, be, and have…)
- Relationships (friends, family, romantic, coworkers, coworkers, customers…)
- Health and Body (wellness, fitness, body image …)
- Career and Education (job, business, schooling, career goals …)
- Recreation and Entertainment (fun, sports, hobbies, vacations…)
- Financial (income, budgeting, savings, investments…)
- Contribution (charities, volunteering…)
On a new sheet of paper, or maybe even a new page in a journal you can now start making sense of all you wrote on your first list. Even easier, download our free “BRAIN DUMP” WORKSHEET below. Print it out and one by one, put each task on your new list, by category. Scratch it off the first list as you go, so that you don’t accidentally write it twice. Continue in this fashion until every item on your list has a place.
Leave your list or journal out in a visible place. Create a daily habit of reviewing your list, adding to, prioritizing, and checking off completed items. Be sure to write down new ideas immediately before they vanish into space. You’ll be amazed at how much this simple practice uncovers your thinking process and allows you to be in control and create a more balanced life.
GET A FREE SUCCESS COACHING SESSION
I’m Julie Earnest, a Jack Canfield certified trainer in success principles. As a success coach, I integrate mindfulness, self-care and natural protocols for health to create a natural balance for your mind, body and soul. Each of us have our own journey in life. I’m here to help you design your authentic journey and create a life well lived. If you’re Wondering…Dreaming…Wishing… for success in your personal, family and professional life, let me help you design the life you want. Begin by scheduling a 15-Minute Free Coaching Session with me Now!