The brain dump printable has become a necessary weekly activity to keep my often hectic, crazy, overbooked life from driving me crazy.
Sometimes I wake up at 4 am and think about everything I have to do, and I can't quiet my mind and fall back to sleep. That's precisely why I designed this printable.
Like all my printables that I create to help me maximize happiness, organization, mindfulness, and productivity, I always share them with you here for free!
I designed this worksheet to be an open space for whatever needs arise. Unfortunately, I've found many brain dump printables offer only a single blank list—no way, that's not enough for me.
I need a way to brain dump by category. I need a printable design that helps me organize all thoughts, details, and to-dos into specific buckets. This printable includes an intentional layout to give my brain a break, and I hope it does the same for you.
Learn more about the brain dump, why you should make brain dumping a habit, and how to use my brain dump printable below.
What is a Brain Dump?
A brain dump is a simple exercise where you take all the thoughts, ideas, and tasks clogging your mind and write them down (dump them!) on paper.
The 2 MAIN PARTS of a brain dump
Part 1: gather all your thoughts.
Part 2: write them down.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO A BRAIN DUMP
There are lots of benefits of making a brain dump a consistent habit!
It declutters your mind and allows for better focus
Mind clutter, like physical clutter, can make you feel claustrophobic, chaotic, ungrounded, and distracted.
If you feel it's hard to focus, it might be because too many thoughts bounce around your head all day.
Brain dumping helps us eliminate excess thoughts and focus on the most important ones.
IT HELPS YOU PRIORITIZE TASKS
The best part of a brain dump is seeing everything in your mind is now on paper. It helps you visualize, categorize, and of course, prioritize all the things that are tugging on you.
After brain dumping your thoughts on paper, all your essential tasks will become more apparent. When you write it all down and can see everything in one place, it is harder to miss the pressing priorities!
IT HELPS YOU FEEL LESS STRESSED
You can try to ignore all your mind's thoughts, but there is no solution like facing what is going on in your head. There is often so much to do we can feel doubled over with stress. How will it all get done?
Brain dumping is a way of taking our thoughts and doing something useful with them instead of letting them hang around and build up stress.
You'll feel lighter, sleep better, and immediately feel more productive once your brain dump is out of your head and on paper. Read here how brain dumping can actually help you manage anxiety!
IT HELPS YOU SEE THE BIG PICTURE
A brain dump will help you understand precisely where you're at—it will make you a better planner, a more productive person, and more efficient at all work and life tasks.
When you do a brain dump each week, you'll be able to better create a roadmap to all the things you want and need to accomplish.
HOW TO DO A BRAIN DUMP
Here are the steps I suggest taking in doing a thorough, high-impact brain dump!
IDENTIFY WHERE YOU WILL PUT YOUR THOUGHTS DOWN
I recommend doing your brain dump in the same place every week! Find a designated tool where you write down your thoughts, ideas, tasks, etc.
Make sure it works for you—if you hate writing in a notebook, record your thoughts digitally. Here are some different ideas of where you can brain dump your thoughts:
- journal, notebook, or diary
- note on your phone
- Microsoft or Google doc
- Airtable (my new favorite tool)
- Notion template
- printable worksheet
FIND 20 MINUTES OF QUIET TIME
Give your brain a peaceful atmosphere to produce both big and small thoughts and ideas.
Find a serene place like a park bench, the library, or a quiet nook of your home where there is nothing to distract you.
Turn your phone off and limit any other distractions.
WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT COMES TO MIND
Everything in your brain must go! No thought should be left behind. If it weighs on you, it gets written down, no matter how trivial it seems.
Here are some ideas of what you can write down:
- errands to run
- people to call or email
- social obligations to see through
- returns to make
- appointments or meetings to schedule or attend
- upcoming events
- bills to pay
- things to research
- paperwork that needs to be submitted
- deadlines to be aware of
- projects or goals that need progress
HIGHLIGHT YOUR TOP PRIORITIES
A highlighter marker will make your priorities clearer if you write on paper. If you're writing digitally, make the font bold, a different color, or a larger size.
If you make the top priorities of your brain dump list highly visible, it reminds you what's most important every time you look at it.
FAVORITE HIGHLIGHTER markers
These highlighters are the best!
CROSS OFF ITEMS AS THEY COMPLETE
Crossing off completed tasks is the most gratifying part! When you finish a brain dump, it automatically can act as a master to-do list. So enjoy crossing off every big and small item you complete.
A tip I have for quick to-do items, whenever I'm waiting for the microwave to finish, or something in a pan to cook, I always use that time to do a quick thing on my list, like fold some laundry, send a payment, or file some paperwork.
Mastering your quick to-dos makes your overall list much more manageable.
REPEAT THE FOLLOWING WEEK
I suggest doing this entire process all over again every week. It allows you to dump new thoughts that accumulate in your brain onto paper. It also keeps you actively involved with items on your list that you want to accomplish.
Whatever the case, repeat when necessary. If you feel your thoughts start to overwhelm you, do a brain dump immediately!
HOW TO CATEGORIZE YOUR BRAIN DUMP PRINTABLE
I designed my brain dump printable so that you can divide the many sides of your life into individual squares and create mini lists for each. This layout helps you go through each area of your life and not miss anything.
(Pssst, you can add your unique category headers in the blank spaces at the top of each square!)
The square for each life category also allows you to write more actionable items on your list instead of one huge goal, which can feel overwhelming.
For example, let's say you have a "my online business" square on your printable. Instead of adding a big, overwhelming task like "launch website," try breaking your tasks down into more manageable items like "take new brand photos" or "write copy for about page."
You're more apt to take action on something if it's bite size.
Here are some category ideas for each square on the brain dump printable (scroll to the bottom of the post to download it!):
- Hobbies/Passion Project/Side Hustle
DOWNLOAD THE FREE BRAIN DUMP PRINTABLE
Feel free to enter your info into the form below to get instant access to my free brain dump printable.
I hope this printable helps your brain as much as it's helped mine!
Love making lists? Then definitely check out my free happy list printable, a 65-page workbook designed to help you reconnect with your happiest self!
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