In all my reading about journaling, there was something I came across that I found kind of interesting. It pertains to the whole notion of the “brain dumping” type of journaling. It seems to me there are really two different kinds of brain dumping – the productivity kind, and the mental health kind. They don’t seem to be the same although they do have some things in common. Today, I thought I’d address the productivity type of brain dumping.
I think I’m at a place now where I totally understand the idea that our brains are for thinking and not for storing. For quite some time now, I feel like almost as soon as I think of a thing, I will forget it. The classic “in one ear and out the other” syndrome. When I was younger, I could remember things better. Not great, but better than I can now. I have piles of sticky notes all over the place, hoping to help me remember all the things I don’t want to forget. I am coming to the sad realization though (because I love colorful sticky notes!) that this system really isn’t working out too well for me. [It should also be noted that I’m not talking about my regular chore list. For that I have made a chart that I plan on laminating.] For the brain dump thing, I’m talking about random things that come up that I don’t want to forget. Add something to the grocery list, look up this information, remember to call that person, you know what I mean. Things that pop up during the day when you’re doing one thing and can’t really stop right in the middle to address the thing that popped up, so you think, “Oh I’ll remember that.” Only, I forget. I get distracted and then, POOF, it’s gone.
Currently, I’m trying out two different methods for productivity brain dumping.
The first is, I picked up some inexpensive Kraft type notebooks from the ‘Zon. I can keep one on my desk and jot something in it at any given time, whenever something occurs to me. I can also take it with me if I go somewhere. Bonus, I can add a sticky note to the paper inside, so they’re all in a single location instead of random places around the apartment.
The other method I’m trying is adding lists to my Google Calendar. When you create an event in Calendar, you can edit the event and add a bulleted or numbered list in the description. It will pop up if you click your mouse on it. I’ve created an all day event and set it to repeat daily. I can add and remove things as I think of or do them, and basically keep a running to-do list in my Google Calendar. I wish it had check boxes but for now, I guess I’ll be satisfied with numbered lists.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to settle on just one of these methods, though. They both have great aspects to them and each have their unique conveniences. I’m hopeful that the combination of these methods are going to help me get a handle on that running, never-ending task list that goes through my head. It’s been getting way too crowded in there!
What about you? Do you have a method for keeping track of the random to-do’s that pop up? What works for you?
Articles about brain dumping for productivity:
Even Trello has a board template for brain dumping for productivity! Sample Board – To-Do List (Flow Style)
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