This post originally appeared on The Hippie Art Studio in 2016.
Welcome to another installment of my bullet journal series. Today, I’ve got a peek inside my current bullet journal setup for you. A vital part of my bullet journal process is using brain dumps to empty my brain. I never realized just how true the idea of “Mommy Brain” actually was until I had my daughter. Since her birth, I literally cannot remember anything for more than a couple of minutes, which is not nearly long enough to complete any sort of action. I spend the majority of my time trying to remember what I doing. That’s where Brain Dumps come into play.
What is a Brain Dump?
A brain dump is simply writing down everything in your head. It allows you to write down every single task, event, idea, or to-do that you can possibly think of. Once you get these things written down, you can then process your brain dump into lists and take actions to start getting things done. A very handy tool when you are just starting to do brain dumps is the GTD Trigger List. I don’t use the GTD Trigger List very often anymore, but it was definitely a benefit when I first started doing my brain dump sessions.
Basically a brain dump is a way of processing your to-do list through free writing and free association. Some people do a big brain dump weekly, while others use this technique daily. I often use brain dumps to figure out my priorities for the week and ways that I can batch tasks together. For example, if I need to create 3 video previews for the week, I know that I need to schedule an hour or two to complete those tasks all at once. I also batch writing tasks, errands, photo shoots, and video editing and voice-overs. Doing a brain dump helps me to process all of my to-do’s into real action and progress.
Making Brain Dumps Part of Your Routine
Brain dumps are part of my Monday planning routine, although I continue to use rapid logging throughout the week to do mini brain dumps each day. The brain dump that I do on Monday pretty much sets the tone for my week. I will also migrate any open tasks from the prior week (or weeks if I haven’t done it already). This allows me to see what things I may have rescheduled due to life (and kids…).
Scheduling Based on Location
Once I’ve done my brain dump, I break tasks into location where these tasks completed at. For example, I may need to do one task – laundry – at home, while another task is easily done in the car while I’m waiting on my step-daughter. This helps me to accomplish my to-do’s, because I spend 12 hours a week at the office, 10 hours a week in the car, and I only have a couple of hours a day at home before family time starts in the evenings. One of the reasons that I try to take advantage of each location is to make the most of any free time that occurs. For example, I spend about 10 hours a week in the car for my step-daughter, waiting for her to finish her classes and activities. So I like to make use of this time to work on certain projects such as planning, writing, and some lettering exercises that require few tools and materials.
Scheduling Based on Kids and Distractions
Another benefit to brain dumps is that I can take note of things I need to do when my 2-year-old daughter isn’t around (or is napping) and things I can do when she’s active (and wanting my attention). I only have a couple of hours each day that I can work on tasks while she’s preoccupied so I have to make the most of this time. Most of the time when she’s napping, I’m filming videos for YouTube or editing videos or working on making art, and then I schedule the other related tasks my underutilized free-time when I’m waiting in the car.
Brain Dumps for Idea Generation
Brain dumps also allow ideas to marinate over time for me. A note can turn into a collection that sparks a whole series, blog posts, videos, or even art projects. That random thought that keeps popping up, but you keep forgetting or putting off gets captured on paper. This act alone can often encourage you to finish it off so it quits nagging at you.
I’d love to know what your thoughts are on brain dumps. Do you like to do them? Are brain dumps part of your regular planning routine?