Back in October I started working with this amazing chic biz owner, Raine. I wish my mom was dope enough to name me Raine, but as I was saying... Raine came to me because she was having a hard time getting work done in her business.
Raine described herself as an "idea person," meaning she was full of ideas and always had a new idea for a project, product or business.
These ideas weren't helping her at all. She would start working on one and then would get stuck. She wasn't getting stuck because the ideas were bad or not well thought out.
The problem is the new ideas were flowing in and stopping the workflow of the previous idea(s). Raine and I developed a brain dumping system to help her move these ideas into action...one at a time.
Brain dumping is bae! [the love of your productive life. Before Anything Else]
Brain dumping is when you physically eject your mental trash. No lobotomies needed. Only a pen + paper. Oh and a timer.
Here's the brain dumping system I created for Raine:
1. Set one day per week for brain dumping.
Think about how you plan your workflow:
What day and time do you usually plan your work for the next week?
Raine found that brain dumping closer to the end of the week at the end of the day was best.
You may be tired at the end of the week and your brain needs recharging. Consider brain dumping in the beginning of the week or day.
2. Set your timer for 10-15 minutes.
Raine used her phone timer and started with 15 minutes for a few weeks then moved to 10 minutes.
Don't be intimidated by the time or think you won't have anything to write. Just embrace the process and let the thoughts flow.
3. Fold your paper in quarters or draw quadrants.
Raine started off with a full piece of paper and was overwhelmed with the full page and found it easier to have the quadrants smaller to help the ideas to flow naturally.
You can label the quadrants if that will help your process. Example quads:
4. Write freely (no editing...just write) about whatever comes to mind until your timer goes off.
Raine initially would tell me that she would just sit there and couldn't think of anything. There's never a time when our brain isn't working. That was just resistance that Raine was experiencing. I encouraged her to doodle pictures until thoughts surfaced or the timer was up.
[doodling reduces anxiety and is therapeutic]
5. When the timer is up do a little dance! Brain dumping relieves your body of stress and anxiety.
How often you brain dump is going to depend on how often you're feeling overwhelmed and unproductive.
Organization beats overwhelm!
6. Now it’s time to organize the clutter.
Raine wrote random words that came to mind, several uncompleted tasks, projects she wanted to complete and appointments to schedule. Immediately she started feeling relieved, but she was just getting started.
Brain dumping is the beginning of an organizational planning system. 7. Action Jackson Time!
You want to:
- Group the similar tasks together.
- Prioritize task groups:
- [complete today, tomorrow, this week, next week, near future, etc.]
- what needs to be done now
- what needs to be done this week
- what needs to be done this month
- what needs to be done sometime in the near future
- what doesn’t need to be done at all
- what can be outsourced
Break down big tasks into bite sized tasks with due dates.
Store your brain dumps in Evernote with a simple snap of your camera phone and upload it on the mobile app. Add the new TDL (to do list) to Asana, so you can complete the tasks and get one step closer to your productivity goals.
Once you get the hang of brain dumping you can create a master list.