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What is a Brain Dump and How to Make it Work

What is a Brain Dump and How to Make it Work for You

What is a Brain Dump and How to Make it Work For You

A Brain Dump is exactly what it sounds – dumping all the jumbled up thoughts from your brain onto a sheet of paper.

I have a large family, a busy day job and Coffee Brain Plans blog and Etsy shop to juggle on a daily basis. Sometimes holding all the thoughts, ideas and to-dos in my head feels like I’m holding my breath. Once I let that breath out, I feel much more relaxed.

The beauty of a brain dump, is you do it however you like. You don’t need to follow anyone else’s method or follow any rules.

Brain Dump Supplies

The only supplies you need to do a brain dump is paper and a writing utensil.

Some more fun options are:

  • Brain dump printable (Grab my freebie here)
  • Brain dump notepad by Knock Knock pads
  • A set of colorful pens for color coding
  • A planner to organize your list when you’re done
  • A notebook dedicated to only brain dumps

Brain Dump Method

Grab your supplies of choice and just write. Write down everything that needs to be taken care of. Every idea you want to explore further. Everything causing you stress. Write it all down.

No need to be neat or tidy. This is not the time to worry about the details. Just make sure you get it out there. But make sure it’s something you can read and understand afterwards.

Sometimes I find it helpful to write down the different categories of tasks that I usually need to do (kids, cleaning, work, personal, relationship, etc.) That way I am more quickly able to remember what needs to be done.

Stuff to Dump

  • Appointments
  • Things you’ve been putting up
  • Events coming up in the future
  • Ideas you want to explore
  • Whatever might be causing you stress
  • Anything and everything

After the Dump

After you feel like you’ve dumped everything out, there are a couple of different way to proceed.

You can walk away and come back to look at your list refreshed.

I find it helpful to jump right in to getting the thoughts in some sort of order. Often I follow the method mentioned above where I categorize a lot of my ideas as I write. That way it’s a lot less to organize later. Finally, I add them to my planner as needed, or transfer them to a running to-do list.

Another way of getting them organized is by color coding – you can have a color for each category (chores, errands, family, work, etc) or a color based on importance (red for important and urgent things, blue for important but not urgent things etc) then transfer to a planner or an organized printable as needed.

The snippets can be organized by what needs to be done now, soon, and someday.

They can be sorted by ‘must’, ‘should’, ‘could’ and ‘want to’.

Unless your brain dump was just a way to clear your head of negative thoughts, make sure to follow up with it so items aren’t left forgotten.

More Brain Dump Ideas

You can implement a brain dump routine – weekly, monthly etc. I really enjoy the idea I read about on Create and Thrive about having a daily brain dump in the morning to get ready for your day.

You can use a brain dump to pump out ideas for a certain project or for a specific idea, like Janet from Paper and Spark talks about.

Items I Use

Whatever way you choose to do it, a brain dump is a great to get all your thoughts and to-dos in order without worrying about it being perfect. It is whatever you need it to be.

What is a Brain Dump and How t Make it Work for You


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might get a tiny commission if you decide to purchase at no extra charge to you. I will always link to items I have tried and love or brands I fully trust would recommend.

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