How To Do A Brain Dump To Declutter Your Mind

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“Perfection is impossible; strive to do your best.” – Angela Watson

Have you ever felt that you are drowning in your thoughts? So much so that you feel that your mind is being paralyzed. You cannot think freely or plan effectively anymore.

Trying to get your daily things done with a cluttered mind is the same as driving a car through the fog. With decreased visibility, your car might be able to move forward, but it will be a slow process. 

A cluttered mind reduces your clarity which decreases your productivity. And in the long run, you end up feeling stuck.

To get things done, you need to be able to think freely and with clarity. A decluttered mind with organized thoughts is one of the basic and first steps needed to be taken to increase your productivity.

So, how do you get out of this feeling of having a paralyzed mind?

Do a brain dump.

What is a brain dump?

Brain Dump


A brain dump is just transferring all your thoughts and ideas onto a paper (or a digital note-taking app). It can be a list of things that you have to do, ideas that you have regarding a project. Anything and everything that exists in your mind can and should be transferred to the paper.


It sounds so simple, right? Honestly, I have always thought that doing a brain dump will not be effective at all. Why bother writing down the things to do in a paper when I have got the list in my mind.


But anyways I did a brain dump. It took me 15 to 20 minutes to transfer all of my thoughts onto a paper.


And after that …….


I felt so relaxed as everything was out of my mind. I felt like I could think again.


Why do a Brain Dump?


David Allen the author of Getting Things Done has famously written in his book that ‘your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.’


Doing a brain dump will help you get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your mind. This single step can positively increase your productivity.


Once your mind is free, you can think with more clarity, plan properly, and therefore take action.


How to do a Brain Dump?

You can do a brain dump in a paper or notebook or digitally in any app of your preference.


 I prefer doing it on paper because it helps me think clearly. Also, I feel satisfied when I cross off the tasks from the brain dump with a pen.


Sit in a quiet place where you can be alone. Be away from all the electronic devices. If you are doing the brain dump digitally, make sure that the notifications are turned off so that you will not be disturbed.


All you have to do is to let the things in your mind flow onto the paper. One by one list down everything that is in your mind.



Your brain dump doesn’t need to be organized. There are no rules for transferring the things in your mind to the paper or app.


 Also, your brain dump doesn’t need to be just the things that you have to get done. It can include anything. Ideas for redecorating your living room or your feelings (I am mad at my friend).


That’s it. It’s a simple process that doesn’t have any rules and regulations.


A brain dump can be done daily or weekly. It is totally up to you.


I do a brain dump only on weekends and find it sufficient.  It takes around 15 to 20 minutes to do a brain dump. I like to spend some time digging deeper so that I don’t miss anything to write.


You might take lesser time to do it. But I would suggest spending 20 minutes doing a brain dump so that you can get everything out of your mind.


You should not rush through the process of doing a brain dump. It’s because you might miss jotting down a few things.

What to do next?


After doing a brain dump it feels like your mind can breathe again. Your mind feels so relaxed. Take a moment to enjoy this state of your mind.


Now, it is time to organize the list of things in your brain dump.


How to do that?


Your brain dump consists of many things, the to-do lists, ideas, emotions and feelings, and whatnot.


Let’s take the example of feelings – I am mad at X. Think of what you can do about this and make it into a task. And add this to the list of things to do.


In this case, it can be called X, or write a journal entry about it, or maybe call another friend to share your feelings. Or maybe take a walk in a park to think about what to do next about this situation.


The ideas that you have can be moved to the place where you collect them. And lastly, the lists of things you have to do.


These should be further organized. One of the best ways to do this is using an Eisenhower Matrix.


What is an Eisenhower Matrix? It is a method that divides tasks into four different categories:


1.     Urgent and important

2.     Important but not urgent

3.     Urgent and but not important

4.    Not urgent and not important 


Once the tasks are separated into these categories, the next step is to make a plan and get these things done.




Your mind should never be used as a place to store your thoughts and ideas. The more and more you use it as a dump yard for everything the more it will cause chaos and clutter in your mind.



A brain dump is a simple yet effective process that will reduce the clutter in your mind. Once you declutter your mind, it will help you to think again.



If you commit to doing brain dumps regularly, it will keep your mind relaxed. It will also help you get new ideas as you feel the pressure is off your mind.


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