Brain Dumping for Busy Solopreneurs

Lifestyle

I want you to take a moment and imagine this.

It’s an early Monday morning. The sun is rising, just starting to warm the surrounding air.

Your home is quiet, calm, peaceful.

You grab your steaming cup of coffee, sit down on your sofa (or yoga mat, deck chair, whatever your heart desires), ready to just enjoy yourself in the moment.

When all of a sudden you get that awful, constricting, panicky feeling you just can’t shake. A smothering stream of thoughts from the last 5 minutes to 5 years hits you…

“I can’t believe it’s Monday again already! I have so much work I need to get done for this project! Have I even got all the info I need from the client? I’m too hungry to do this, what am I doing for breakfast today? Or tomorrow? Or later this week? Should I plan dinner too? I totally dropped the ball meal planning last week. Maybe I should go to the store first. Or this afternoon. Well if I’m going to the store I should grab that new book I want to read from that cute spot around the block. If I buy too many books will they fit in my next apartment even? Wait I need to focus on this project for deadline! Oh shoot I haven’t even used my gym pass this month! Do we have laundry soap? Wait I haven’t even journaled this morning yet!” 

Sound familiar?

Experts estimate that the average person has somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day. Whoa. It’s no wonder that at any given moment we can feel like a wave of overwhelm has risen up out of the blue and come crashing down completely defeating us.

In comes a brain dump to the rescue.

 

What is a Brain Dump?

If you don’t know what a brain dump is, don’t worry. It is exactly what you think it is.

A brain dump is basically getting all of the thoughts and tasks overcrowding your mind out, and letting them live on paper instead.

It really is as simple as that. 

I like to visualize Marie Kondo is working her magic inside my brain. By taking everything out and putting it one big pile, I can work through the thoughts and to-do’s one by one and see which ones “spark joy”.

 

Why I Love a Good Brain Dump

When I first started my design business, it was a total lifestyle change in my day to day life. I wasn’t doing this as a side-hobby anymore, I had deadlines, client expectations to meet, and my do-to list instantly doubled. 

I quickly learned the hard way that just going with it always ended up as a total cluster-fuck.

Brain dumping allows you to take thoughts and ideas and turn them into real, concrete, actionable tasks or goals.

 

The Mind Map Method

You may or may not know that there are a ton of benefits to the science behind Mind Mapping. 

I choose this method for my brain dumps because I find it is the quickest way to get my thoughts onto the page in groups, without having to worry about lines and spacing, and there is always room to grow outward or add to later. 

 

How to Brain Dump:

  1. Get a blank piece of paper, The bigger the better. Or if you only have lined paper, turn it sideways so you are not restricted to lines for your dump
  2. Put something right in the middle. This is your starting point. This can be anything from your name, or what month it is, or write down your one main goal or focus. If you work better visually, you can draw a little picture of a brain, or of you, whatever your heart desires!  
  3. Break off into groups. You can either pre-label groups, or write them down as you brain dump. I personally like to work with one group at a time to keep it organized.
  4. From your group, break it down into whatever items are floating around in your brain focused around that group. 

 

Tips and tricks:

  • Let your thoughts run wild. Let them flow freely and do not stop to think about grammar or critique your handwriting. You are more likely to get everything out of your brain this way. 
  • You can set a timer for 2 or 5 minutes to press the urgency to empty your brain. 

 

Remember, this is just one way to brain-dump. If mind-mapping doesn’t work for you, you can try different pages for different groups, a bunch of lists or color-coding. As long as you get the thoughts out of your head and onto to paper quickly and efficiently, you have brain dumped. 

 

Happy brain dumping!