Entrepreneurs are renowned for their creative minds, but there will likely be times that you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Does your mind ever wake you up at 3 am with a deluge of random thoughts and incredible ideas that make you think your head might burst?
These are the moments when you really need to combat overwhelm, turn down the stress level, and make sure you don’t miss out on the ideas that could help turn you into a millionaire!
Meet the brain dump!
It’s time to capture all that information in one place; my preferred method is a brain dump.
Brain dumps are akin to cleaning out a filing cabinet: you can access the important info that once lived in the darkest corner, you’ll find plenty of obsolete info that is ready for the bin, and you can organise everything that’s left in a way that meets your needs.
Brain dumping is a valuable business tool and a self-care practice.
10 benefits of clearing mind clutter
Here are 10 benefits of brain dumping to help you and your business excel:
- Helps organise and manage thoughts, boosting efficiency, productivity and planning.
- Satisfies your brain that problems are being recognised and dealt with, which helps promote relaxation.
- Helps uncover valuable information.
- Increases focus without distraction.
- Creates space for new, inspiring ideas to present themselves.
- Stops the noise of constant and competing demands (you know you’ll have an action plan shortly).
- Helps you identify the worries you can act on, and those you need to release.
- Supports you to avoid overwhelm and burnout.
- Makes you a nicer human being (don’t be the person obsessing about “everything” at your mum’s 80th birthday party)!
- It’s basic self-care; without it, you and your business will suffer.
What if I don’t do a brain dump?
If you don’t brain dump, your business won’t die; but if you do it, you will make your working days easier, more fun and a whole lot more profitable over time!
How many times have you woken up in the night convinced that you have the best idea in the world? Perhaps you spend an hour fantasising about it and then fall back asleep hoping that you will remember it in the morning – but you don’t! Brain dumping enables you to clear out the clutter and increase the opportunity for those brilliant ideas to resurface (and it’s a good idea to keep a notepad and pen by your bed just in case!).
How to brain dump effectively
- Choose whether to do this on paper or digitally (you could, for example, open up a new Google Doc, or use Milanote, Evernote, Trello or Notes).
- Set a timer (it might take 30+ mins the first time, and less time over subsequent weeks). By setting a timer, you heighten focus (and you can check you’re not secretly procrastinating!).
- Write down all your thoughts and ideas (let them flow without judgement).
- Keep writing until time or your thoughts run out.
- Take a breather: go for a walk, drink a glass of water, stretch.
- Add anything else to the brain dump that came to mind during your breather.
- Categorise your thoughts using highlighters. For example, you might use a yellow highlighter for business-related thoughts, green for family, pink for personal, orange for those that require immediate action, and so on. Do what works for you; you might choose to create categories and dump straight into those initially.
- Transfer any items that are urgent or important to your to-do list (or delegate).
- Repeat this at least once a week (and more often if you find yourself waking up with your brain swimming).
Tips to help you get started
Brain dumps are powerful. Here are three great ways to unlock your thinking:
- Write down three business-related things that have been on your mind (e.g. need to find a financial adviser, software issues, write a blog).
- List three maintenance tasks at home or work that you need to do (e.g. redecorate the front room, mow the lawn, find a new energy supplier).
- Note three things that didn’t go so well for you this week and what you learnt from them (e.g. ran out of time to meet prospective client, so need to manage time better; missed networking opportunity, so need to set a reminder; failed to upsell my offering, so need time to review my objectives and consider pitch in advance).
I find brain dumping a fantastic way to free up my mind and take my business to the next level. It helps me clearly identify what I keep putting off (always a good reason to delegate!) and I free up headspace so I can enjoy more of my downtime. Billionaire Elon Musk uses a form of brain dumping, and motivational coach Tony Robbins refers to it as “capturing” – both use it to help optimise time, and if it’s good enough for them, it probably is for you too!
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, brain dumping is a fantastic tool to help you gather all those sparks of inspiration before your critical mind kicks in. Speaking of inspiring new ideas, you might want to check out my new book
P.S. What are you waiting for? Start dumping out your thoughts today! I’d love to know how you find the process, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.