Five Things To Do In A Mind Dump

In March of this year I wrote a post on How Do You Eat An Elephant.

In the post I went through some of the frustrations I had had since

starting my quest in making money on the Internet. This post had to

do with all of the bright shiny

objects I had purchased and my inability to take action on any one

project before purchasing the next shiny object.


I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the problem was, whether it

was  fear of success, fear of failure or was it overwhelm or lack of

focus. Whatever it was, or is, became my elephant. Of course the way

to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. But is it really? I could see

that elephant and start to take one bite at a time but boy is that a big

elephant. The elephant was my overwhelm. So now what do I do?

Take a dump?

No, a mind dump.


What Is a Mind Dump?


So what is a mind or brain dump? Well, think of your mind as a

computer. If a computer has too many programs running, it slows

down and eventually crashes. Your mind is the same. When your

mind has too many things swirling around inside, it slows down and

drains you, keeping you from focusing. With a computer you can add

a software program that will clear out all of the clutter and speed

your computer up. That’s great for the computer but how do I clear

up my mind? With a mind dump!


The best way to do a mind dump is to perform a small exercise that

will clear out your thoughts so that you can focus on one task at a

time. The simplest way is to get out a pad of paper and write down

everything that is on your mind. Include everything you need to do,

everything that is bothering you, or worrying you, anything you

regret, wish, goals etc. Put it all down on paper. This is the dump.

Don’t stop until you can’t think of anything else. This has the effect of

clearing out your mental closet. You now should have a list of

everything that you have been thinking about. Now you will be able

to set priorities and make quicker decisions. This will free up your

mind to think creatively about something that you were previously

unable to tackle.


How Often DO I Do It?


So how often do I do this mind dump? While you can perform a mind

dump at any time, a good time to perform it is at the end of every

week just before your weekly review. And if you’re not doing a weekly

review I strongly suggest that you start doing this as it keeps you

focused and helps unclutter your mind. Another good time to use it is

when you’re feeling overwhelmed with work or when your brain is

swimming with ideas and you can’t concentrate.


How Do I Do It? 


There are number of ways you can do it. Initially, I find it easier to

just start on paper. Make sure you have at least 20 to 40 minutes of

uninterrupted time to complete your first mind dump. Sit down and

relax. If music helps you relax by all means turn on your favorite

music, but just not too loud.


Take out a sheet of paper and write down a task you want to do. This

might be something like making a phone call, cutting the grass,

making a blog post or something larger like setting up a blog or

starting a business.


The main point is just to start writing some tasks or anything that is

on your mind and let it take you from there. Absolutely anything

goes, so write as much as you can. You may end up with 100 plus

items or you may end up with 50 items or less. The important thing is

to get as much out of your head as possible. I like to write one task or

item per line on a lined notepad so that I have a list of all of the

things that have been on my mind.


Now that you have dumped everything on your mind onto the paper

in list form you should now feel less overwhelmed and will be able to

focus better. You still have your elephant but now it’s on the paper

and you can tackle or bite off each item one at a time. In the past, I

use to write down any new ideas, tasks etc. on 3 x 5 unlined cards as I

went about my day. Then I switched to a small dictating device to

accomplish the same result. Now with the availability of smart

phones I dictate any of my tasks or ideas onto a notepad on my

iPhone. I then incorporate these tasks and ideas into my weekly



My Brain Dump

My Brain Dump

So Now What Do I Do?

How do I process the list? Well it all

depends on your organizational system, but

a rough method may be as follows:



  1. Divide a piece of paper into three columns:  Goals, Projects & To Do’s.

2. Go through each item on the list.

3. If it’s something that will require more than one task or to do,               put it on the project list.

4. If it’s a single action item that can be done in a short period of             time put it in the to do list.

5. If it’s something that will require multiple projects and to do’s              put it in the goals list. In this way you can later go back and                    break down the goal into the various projects and to do’s.


The Benefits


The main benefit of this technique is that it gives you a clear mind

and helps you concentrate and focus on your main goals. Once you’ve

processed the list, you know everything you are thinking of will be

taken care of, and your mind can rest at ease.

In an upcoming blog post I will show you how you can keep track of

your entire mind dump electronically by using mind mapping.

Please let me know what you think. Has this been helpful? If so leave

me a reply below or use the contact form and email me with your

brain dump methods and how they have helped you focus and take

action better.



Picture Courtesy of Knittinandnoodlin at


Brain Dump Video Courtesy of Mary Heather Browne at and You Tube.