I quite often feel completely overwhelmed with the things I need to do, even when my to-do list is fairly reasonable. Often it’s at the end of an unproductive day when I’ve faffed around achieving nothing but feeling stressed out. It’s at these times I do a brain dump, or mind map, to help me get everything out of my frazzled head and onto paper. It helps a lot.
There are probably tonnes of different ways to attack a brain dump. The simplest is just to write a long list of everything that you think of that needs to be done. I tend to do a mind map, just because it looks prettier, and it allows your mind to think a little more logically.
I start out by listing either big projects that need doing, or categories e.g. housework, business stuff, blogging. Each of these is circled. Then I sit and quickly scribble everything that comes to my mind on the paper – attaching it to a category or starting a new category if I need to. Sometimes new ideas branch off old ones. The main thing is to keep scribbling, and get all the stuff in my brain out on the paper. I save expanding things into more detail for later, together with ordering everything into lists.
This is tonight’s effort. I’m obviously not feeling overwhelmed tonight – it was a stretch coming up with things, and this is fairly neat, not my usual scrawl to keep up with my brain.
I’ll often do this right before bedtime, and then keep it beside the bed, just in case things start swirling around my head as I’m going to sleep. It’s easy, then, to quickly add them to the mind map and stop worrying that I’ll forget them.
In the morning, I can start to prioritise the tasks; making to-do lists and working out what my three MITs will be for the day.
Do you dump? How do you get all the *things* out of your head? Or do you work better if they just stay in there?