The Beauty of the Brain Dump
by Chris Hatfield
Have you ever found yourself getting to the end of a long day and just as you should be putting your feet up, you feel your blood pressure begin to spike?
That traitorous bead of sweat starts to roll down your brow, as the little hand slowly ticks over into “overthink o’clock”?
We’ve been there.
Too many people use the time when they should be shutting their brains off, to think over their day. Maybe you had a particularly tough challenge that had you stumped. Or, you know you have a mile-long to-do list for tomorrow.
It’s not your fault.
We’re busy! It’s hard to take stock of the day when you’re halfway through it and still have emails coming out of your ears.
Working from home has also blurred the lines between office life and home life. It’s almost impossible to switch off these days. With intense workloads and a distinct lack of a cool-down period, how are you supposed to end your workday in a healthy, guilt-free way?
Enter- the Brain Dump Template.
Trust us – it is every bit as fun as it sounds.
If you would like to give the Brain Dump a go, you can download the e-guide here.
The Brain Dump Template
The Brain Dump template is a really simple, 5-minute tool. It will help you wrap up your days without the fear of leftover stress invading your precious evenings.
There are four areas within the Brain Dump, which is set out in a quadrant. In the top left corner, write Pending. Underneath, you’ll jot down everything that’s on your mind for tomorrow. Outstanding tasks, to-do lists, worries- the whole lot! You can even include non-work bits because the more you get off your chest now, the better you’ll feel.
Under pending, in the bottom left of the quadrant, is where you’ll put Wins Think about whether you managed to navigate a particularly tricky challenge today, or something went really smoothly. Anything that you want to pat yourself on the back for, goes in this square.
The top right corner is for Challenges, perhaps the ugliest stepsister of all. What were some of the things that stopped you from being productive today? Did you struggle with anything that you need a bit of closure on this evening? You don’t have to be afraid of this corner though because, for every villain, there is a hero.
And that leads us on to our final section, Solutions. This is a biggie- the corner which will give you the most peace whilst you’re just trying to enjoy tonight’s Coronation Street. What can you do tomorrow to overcome today’s challenges?
Why it Works
Now, you might be thinking – why on earth would I want to do more work at the end of a long day? You’ve already got a to-do list full of tasks and absolutely cannot spare the 5 minutes.
Let us explain why it will be the best 5 minutes you’ve ever spent.
I know we’re all digitally minded now; note-taking on fancy tablets and the like. But there is something to be said for the simple act of putting pen to paper and letting your troubles flow out with the words.
Just having all your thoughts and worries written down in one place, is immensely helpful when searching for the big picture. It’s also a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything, by copying it all down whilst it’s still fresh in your mind.
Another reason for doing this is that you’re subconsciously telling your brain it doesn’t have to keep it top of mind because you’ve written it down. It also forces you to use the rational part of your brain which means you look at things more logically.
The pending section will still be there in the morning, ensuring you go into a new day prepared and ready.
This corner may feel a little self-aggrandising to some, but you should never underestimate the power of a bit of self-compassion. Being able to recognise when you have done something well is an important tool when it comes to building confidence.
You should absolutely be patting yourself on the back on a daily basis (even if it’s just ticking a task off your to-do list).
Do you ever get to the end of a day (week, month, etc), find yourself a frazzled heap, and think, “Man am I glad that’s over!”?
This is completely normal, don’t worry!
What the Brain Dump helps you to do is objectively analyse these feelings. Writing down your day-to-day challenges will give you the opportunity to find patterns in regular customers and source solutions for the future.
It’s so much easier to find a solution for a problem when you’re able to sit and think calmly about it. Looking for marginal gains will aid you in slowly adapting and building up to an increase in your performance.
Plus, you won’t have to desperately wrack your brain trying to come up with an answer whilst in the shower. You can have a private Taylor Swift concert like the rest of us.
Peace at Last
This is a very healthy way to end a workday. With just five minutes of devotion to the Brain Dump, you can avoid an evening full of stress and misery.
If you’re interested in seeing it in action, go over to our courses page here and keep an eye on upcoming workshops!Tags: Chris Hatfield