We know that God is not the God of confusion or disorder. But, unfortunately, in this world, we do have confusion and disorder.
Like most people, the swirl of ideas, thoughts, and tasks spin in and around our heads.
The spinning thoughts make us feel overwhelmed, confused, and admittedly feeling a little bit crazy as well.
In this post, I will show you how to do a brain dump for mental clarity that has helped my clients and me to:
- Stop the swirl.
- Organize your thoughts.
- Prioritize what you actually can, want, and should do.
Now, you may have done a brain dump before. However, there are lots of different techniques and ways to do a brain dump. In addition, I’ve learned that different personalities like to do brain dump exercises in different ways.
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The Brain Dump and Personalities
In my Calling Clarity program, we work with the Myers Briggs personality indicator, a four-letter designation. There is either an S or an N in the second letter position, which means you’re either a sensing or intuitive type.
An S is a person who likes to make lists. They want to write down lists of things to do. An intuitive person or an N person is more likely to create a mind map by clustering items together. Neither one is right or wrong. It’s just the way that God designed you.
When my husband and I were in missionary training, the facilitators separated us into two groups, Ss and Ns, to do an activity. My husband and I are both Ns, so we were in the same group together. They gave each group a large piece of chart paper and different colored markers. Each group had about six or eight of us and they put us into other rooms.
The facilitators gave us one word. The word was LEAF. My N group started using all the different color markers. As the designated writer in my group, I would write the words anywhere on the paper. We wrote down words about a leaf such as fall, Leif Erickson, a leap of faith, and we even changed the word from leaf to leap. We had all these sparks of ideas. After about 10 or 15 minutes, they had us come back together.
When the S group came back into our room, their list looked very different. Their list was a straight list of the natural characteristics of a leaf, including all the features, colors, and parts. They had not used any of the colored markers, they wrote everything on paper in black ink. So again, neither one is right or wrong. It’s just the way that God created us.
How To Do a Brain Dump For Mental Clarity – Before Creating a List
Lists are great, but brain dumping helps get the swirl out of your head when you’re initially brainstorming your thoughts. This is why my technique for how to do a brain dump for mental clarity does the brain dump first before you create a list. You don’t think in order all the time, so you won’t write in a perfect list all the time either. Permit yourself to get it all out without worrying about what order it needs to go in at the beginning.
Also, if you start with a list, your list will not be in order, and it may look messy once you start organizing and prioritizing. Your initial list may end up with scribbles, numbers, or arrows trying to organize your list. Sounds overwhelming in itself, right?
This brain dump method allows you to get it out and organize it without rewriting your list. And, once you have everything prioritized, you can then make a list if that’s what you prefer.
Use Those Sticky Notes and a Wall
Start with sticky notes and a wall or poster board. Why? You’ll want to put those thoughts right out in front of your eyes so you can see each one. Then, write down every thought you have, one thought at a time, and one on one sticky note. This is how to do a brain dump for mental clarity, especially when feeling overwhelmed and confused.
The whole idea is to first get everything out of your brain. Second, put it out where your eyes can see it in front of you. Third, your brain will automatically start to relax because now it’s tangible. It’s out of your head, and your brain can go, “ahhhhh, I don’t have to hold on to this information anymore.”
Some people have told me they don’t want to waste their sticky notes by putting one thing on a note. My response is to get a smaller-sized pad or cut them in half. If you think about it, how long have you had those sticky notes! Use them before they lose their stickiness!
Get everything out, don’t worry about the order, write out every random thought. Just put everything individually on different pieces of sticky notes and put them up on the wall, on your whiteboard, wherever it is that you can stick things so you can see it and have it in front of you.
Categorize Your Thoughts
Here’s another fun part of the brain dump, categories! Start to move your sticky notes around into different categories. There could be a category for a particular project, a category of household responsibilities, a category of duties for the kids, or whatever it is; you can categorize it. It’s up to you how you want to categorize.
The best part about stickies is that you can rearrange them and reorganize them quickly by moving the notes around. Your hands are physically organizing thoughts, and they are tangible now. Categories help you realize that you may have forgotten something, and you can add things as needed.
Alternatively, another thing that happens when you’re organizing and categorizing is that you can see what doesn’t need to be done right now. This activity helps you decide what can go on the back burner, be done next month, or even better, what you can throw away. Some thoughts don’t matter at all because they are just distractions. So, rip that sticky off the wall, ball it up and throw it away!
Refresh Your Brain
When you get it all out of your brain and get it in front of you, you’re helping your brain refresh. Now your brain has a chance to recharge. Ahhhh, let’s take a deep breath right now.
Now that you have a clear and refreshed brain, you can start to look for new solutions. As a result, you’ll be more creative and have better ideas.
Your brain is the CEO, the Chief Energy Officer of your body. Your brain takes up a lot of energy when you hold on to or ruminate about things in your head. Since your brain is always trying to save energy, it pulls from other parts of your body, making you mentally and physically exhausted. This is why I teach all of my clients how to do a brain dump for mental clarity and to realize the benefits of less fatigue!
Organize and Prioritize
When I go on my quiet quarterly retreats, I use this technique during my strategy session with God. First, I get everything out of my brain, and then I am ready to organize and prioritize. Once it is all in front of you and you know what you MUST do, go to God and ask Him, “What is important? What should I prioritize.”
The brain dump first helps stop the swirl, then it allows you to organize, and then you can use it to help you prioritize all the different parts of your life. Now, you can recognize what is essential and what is not essential. Use the brain dump exercise,
- At the start of a project when you’re thinking about all the things and all the tasks that need to happen to accomplish your goal.
- When you’re saying to yourself, “I’ve got so many things to do.” Then, please sit down and think through it, organize it, use your sticky notes, and get it out in front of you.
Make it Your Own
The critical thing to remember is that we are all different, so find the way that works for you! Make it your own. God has created you uniquely. And He has called you to have a business and life that is uniquely designed for you. So when you work in your way, that’s when you show up in the best way.
The sticky note brain dump can help,
- “Ss” to get organized. Remember what I said, even though you like lists, this is the place where you can get it all out, see it all, and THEN make your list.
- “Ns” by taking your clusters and organizing them into what comes next, and get every single task done without missing a step.
It is a technique that works for both types of people. Make this technique your own to free up your mind, get more creative and find the solutions you need to succeed.
Need more help with your God-centered business? I invite you to have a Clarity Call with me. Let’s see if we can get that swirl of all those things happening in your head into a focus and a direction. Make your appointment today!