Want to be more organized, more creative, less anxious and more in touch with your inner thoughts and feelings?
Start your day with a “brain dump”.
How to Do a Morning Brain Dump
I first saw this concept in an article about journaling your life and decided to try it myself. The basic idea is to write down whatever comes to mind the very first thing in the morning before you do anything else (no coffee, email, talking to anyone else beforehand). It even helps to journal in dim lighting to avoid fully waking up.
When you’re writing, don’t worry about grammar or even making sense, just write what comes to mind as it comes to mind. (This is called “stream of consciousness” writing.) I like to make a column on the left side or on the top of the page to list things that need to be done, then in the center of the page I write my dreams from the night before, ideas that I have or things that I’m concerned about and want to pray through.
Whatever’s on my mind gets written on that paper.
How I’ve Adapted My Morning Brain Dump
A quick morning brain dump is definitely the way to begin this practice, and you’ll see immediate benefits from doing that.
In the past few years, however, my personal morning brain dump has transitioned into “morning pages”– and idea proposed by Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist’s Way”. I write without stopping until I’ve reached the end of three 8.5 x 11 inch pages. It’s amazing how many epiphany moments I’ve had toward the end of that third page!
I don’t know what the magic is, but it works.
BUT don’t let this seemingly daunting task prevent you from starting a morning brain dump. Even three minutes of journaling can help you be more focused and calm for your day.
Benefits of a Morning Brain Dump
As I’ve committed to doing a morning “brain dump” on a regular basis, I’ve discovered a couple of things:
- My most creative ideas come during this time;
- I’m much more in touch with my feelings, concerns and anxieties, and I can address them rather than letting them “stew” beneath the surface;
- My anxiety level has decreased.
After My Brain Dump
Once I feel that I’ve “dumped” everything, I make a plan for my day by listing the Top 3 tasks I need to do in the top section of my Joyful Life Planner.
I’ve found that I’m much more creative and productive on the days that I use this organizational method, and I actually miss it when I fail to do it first thing. If you decide to start doing a daily “brain dump”, let me know how it goes for you.
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I love this idea and am going to give it a try. Just curious… What do you list on the left side of your page? You mentioned to do’s on the right, and last night’s dreams, concerns in the middle. So I’m wondering what you list on the left.
Kimberlee Stokes says
Great question! I actually rarely use the left side of the page because I only have a narrow margin, but I occasionally use it to make a quick list of ideas that I want to journal about so I don’t forget. Hope that helps!
I’ve just found you on Pinterest as I was looking in to this idea and love that you do it first thing in the morning. I’m going to try this out. Thanks for sharing
The Peaceful Mom says
Welcome Romany! It has truly changed my life. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
This idea is quite exciting & definitely going to do it . But before coffee – just can’t see that part of it happening !!
Haha! Whatever works best for you Maria. 🙂
I’ve been doing this the last few days, what a help!
I keep a journal so it’s my first entry of the day.
Thanks for letting me know Nancy. It’s an absolute must for me now.
Kimberlee, is your “brain dump” done in a journal or on paper that is thrown away. I’ve debated about which way to go. Thanks!
Hi Eva! I keep everything in a notebook so I can go back and refer to it. I am now using Evernote as well to capture ideas from my notebook that are more long term. Hope that helps. 🙂
I’m trying to do this again, too. I’d like to put my prayers down on paper as well as do the “brain dump,” but I have yet to see if that works out in practice. I love how you make a column on the right for “to-dos.” When I did this in the past, I found it could get all filled up with things I was remembering to do for the day. If I quickly write those off to one side, I can continue dumping everything else on the other side. 🙂
Glad you like the idea Kristy. I have to think in “categories” to keep things straight. 🙂
Great idea–I realize I have been doing this, except it’s in the shower and so it all gets lost by the time I am out and dressed and 6,000 children have hit me with their neediness in 60 seconds or less. (ok, only 6 children.) I think I”ll try it on paper BEFORE the shower. 🙂
Hahaha! Yes, try it before or find some crayons to write on the wall of the shower. 🙂
I forgot. 😛
Like you, I come up with some of my best ideas in the shower, so I try to remember to take my little voice recorder with me to the bathroom. I have a small dresser next to my shower, so I set it on that & when an idea hits me, I reach for my little recorder (being careful not to get it wet). voila – thought captured!
This is a great idea. I never really thought about it, but I try to write things that I need to do down when I get up or I will forget them.
Great post Kimberlee!
This is a wonderful plan, I have been unwittingly doing something similar for a long time. Carrying the prayer journal is a great idea, I never thought of that. It is interesting to look back through to see how things have worked out. Always appreciate your posts.
Wow, what a phenomenal idea. My husband says (and I quite agree) that he can get a better idea of what’s going on in my heart by reading my blog than by talking with me a lot of the time…. This is because it’s so much easier for me to articulate my thoughts and emotions via writing…. Never thought about doing it first thing in the morning, but I’m definitely going to try it!! Starting tomorrow. Excited about this. I think I’m going to try to do it for a week and then blog my discoveries… 🙂 Thanks for posting this!!
You are very welcome Dana–I’d love to hear how it goes. 🙂
This is great. I write my prayers rather than speak them, I am incredibly “jumbled” when I try to verbally pray, and I’ve found that writing them enables full concentration. I carry my prayer journal everywhere so I can jot names of those who need prayer, it makes it easier to say “I will pray for you..” because I know I will!! It’s also nice to look back and see the prayers that were answered and the ones I now see as God’s way of showing love through saying “no” to what I ask for.
Great idea Kylee–thanks so much for sharing. 🙂
I too have been kinda doing this for years by way of a prayer journal, but love the name Brain Dump, cus that’s what I feel like I am doing alot of mornings. I currently keep my journal on my computer in OneNote, that way when I want to find an older though, all I have to do is type in a key word into the search box to help me locate it.
Love this idea.