Brain dump. Such an attractive sounding term, isn’t it? But that really is the best way to put it. It’s a term from David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done.” If you are looking for help getting organized and being more productive, definitely grab his book. Seriously, who doesn’t want to up their productivity game? Doing a brain dump weekly in your planner can help you remember what needs to be done weekly and sort out your To-Do list by what’s critical and what can wait.
Driving The Hot Mess Express
As parents, we are all trying to juggle multiple tasks in a day with the goal being that it looks like we have our sh*t together. And the days/weeks where we are pretty much driving the hot mess express, it doesn’t take much to get overwhelmed and stressed. There are days I have been continuously on the move doing stuff and yet, somehow, by the end of the day, I forgot something important I needed to do. Or, even better, by the end of the day, the house looks like I did nothing!
Have you ever had one of those days where you are in the middle of one task and then see something else that needs to be done, so you start multitasking them. And then you think about something else that needs to get done, so you start on that too? And by the end of the day, with all that multitasking, nothing really got done completely. I hate those days. I really do love ending my day feeling like I accomplished a mountain of tasks and having it appear that way too!
This also falls in line with self-care!
Add it to your weekly planner to help you clear your brain of all the clutter in there! Write down stuff for your to-do list, anything bothering you, or even projects you want to do. Closet getting messy and cluttered? Write it down and then schedule it in to clean out and organize it! Your kid’s toys getting out of control and taking over your house? Get it out of your mind and onto paper, then put it in your planner to declutter the toys! Feeling worn out at the end of every day? Write it down and plan in some time for self-care! In fact, scheduling time for self-care is a must. I’m not even asking nicely, it’s a demand Momma Bear! You deserve it! There’s a printable list of realistic, wonderful ideas to get you started here.
Seriously, try it weekly for a month, and it will help you out so much. You’ll be more focused and calm as well as more organized by getting those tasks scheduled then checked off your list. You can use anything for your brain dump page. I have a free printable below that you can print out and then sort tasks in whatever way works best for you. Even just grabbing a sheet of printer or lined paper. Whatever way you want to do it, just do it!
Start Your Weekly Brain Dump
Grab your paper and pen. I have my printable pages in my planner in the back. Since I use the Arc punch system for my personal planners, I can easily move them around to where I want them. I do mine on Sundays to help me prepare for the week ahead. Start by sitting down for 10 minutes in the morning and write everything on your mind down. This can be anything. To-do list tasks, recipes you’ve wanted to try, DIY project or a craft you want to do, self-care ideas, kids activities and so on. Just get it all out. Don’t limit yourself to only tasks that can be completed this week or month. Now, leave your page there and continue your day. Leave it on your desk/table and anytime you think of anything else during the day, add it to the list.
Now it’s time to turn that chaos into organized chaos. In the evening after Little Man has gone to bed, I sit down with my planner and erasable highlighters and get the following week set up. This is when I grab my brain dump sheet and start sorting it all out. You can sort it into roles like I do for my time blocking schedule, or into categories.
Some ideas for categories would be must do, personal, errands, important but not urgent, emails, stuff to do later, and so on. Whatever categories work for you. And those could easily change week to week. Just make sure to assign each one a highlighter color so you can sort them into your weekly planner easier. You can see below how I have mine set up. What works for me may not work for you so change it up however you need to to make it practical for you!
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Turn That Chaos Into Organized Chaos
After you sort and prioritize your list, open up your weekly calendar page and schedule in those tasks. I even have a “someday” page for stuff I’m not doing this week but want to do later on. That’s where I put a lot of the DIY projects I want to do. I use my Project Planner pages when I am getting ready to start one. If it’s a recipe you want to try, put it down on a weekly menu page.
A brain dump is honestly so helpful in managing that hot mess life! It’s one of the best things for when you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things you need and want to do. Get those thoughts down on paper, organize and schedule in time to do them. How you choose to schedule them in is what works best for you. For me, with all the different roles I take on in a day, time blocking works best for me. Between the domestic engineering duties, my Etsy Store, this blog, and making sure I have family and self-care time, putting my day into blocks helps me to stay focused and get so much more done.
Want to be more productive?
Focus on just one task at a time. No juggling 3 or 4. And don’t forget your free printable Brain Dump page!
Let me know some of your favorites tricks or books that help you be more organized and productive! I’m always looking for a way to calm the chaos.