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What Is a Brain dump? – And How To Use It To Clear Your Mind

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Brain dumping is a great way to free up your mind and let go of all the thoughts, ideas, and feelings cluttering it. It involves writing down anything and everything that comes into your head onto paper.

It is a simple but powerful practice to prioritize your mental health: it can help you process your emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase clarity in decision-making.

What is brain dumping - method & template | SaturdayGift
What is brain dumping – method & template

What is a brain dump?

Brain dumping is the process of writing down everything you are thinking about or need to do to free up your mind and focus on what’s important.

It’s a great way to unload thoughts, ideas, and tasks that are taking up space in your head.

You can use brain dumping to prioritize, plan, organize, and make decisions with greater clarity.

The goal of brain dumping

Brain dumping aims to clear your head and make space to focus better. It also frees up mind clutter for bigger, more creative thinking.

By writing out everything that has been weighing on your mind, you can get a better handle on what’s important and how to address it. 

It can help reduce stress and anxiety and make decision-making easier.

Declutter your mind - Brain dump template | SaturdayGift
Declutter your mind – Brain dump template

How to Brain Dump – Step-by-Step Guide

Brain dumping is a simple but powerful practice that can help you identify and prioritize the essential tasks in your life.

Here’s how to get started:

Step 1 – Get the right supplies

You don’t need anything fancy to start brain-dumping. You only need a pen and paper or an electronic device like your laptop or phone.

Psst! I like to use printable brain dump worksheets. You can find free printable brain declutter templates here: Brain Dump Worksheet – 23 Cute & Free Printables

Step 2 – Decide what you want to focus on

When it comes to brain dumping, you can write whatever comes to your mind or be more specific and choose a topic. You can choose from any category or area of your life, such as health and fitness, relationships, career goals, finances, etc.

Step 3 – Start writing

Start jotting down anything that comes to mind related to the topic you’ve chosen. Don’t worry about organization or making sense yet – write all random thoughts and whatever is on your mind.

Step 4 – Review & Reflect

Once your brain dump is complete, please take a few moments to review what you’ve written and reflect on it.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What stands out?
  • What themes do I see?
  • What tasks or goals should I prioritize?
  • What could I let go of?

Please note that you’re not supposed to do all those tasks on your brain dump list. The list is there to free up mental space and help you prioritize and add doable tasks to your to-do list.

Types of Brain Dumps

Have a brain dump notebook or a bullet journal. Or use a printable or a piece of paper. Even post-it notes work well. There’s no right or wrong way to do brain dumping as long as you do it.

Here are five different types of brain dumps you can try:

Free-Form Brain Dump

This type of brain dump is more spontaneous and involves writing down whatever comes into your head without worrying about structure or organization.

It’s a great way to get all your thoughts and feelings out on paper to clear your head.

Structured Brain Dump

This type of brain dump involves writing down your thoughts in a structured, organized way. You can do it by making lists of tasks and ideas, prioritizing items, or organizing them into categories or buckets.

With a structured brain dump, you can sort through the clutter in your head and determine which tasks you need to focus on first.

Time-Based Brain Dump

With this type of brain dump, you focus on tasks you must complete within a specific timeframe (e.g., today, tomorrow, next week).

The time-based brain dump is excellent for getting organized and prioritizing which tasks to focus on first without getting overwhelmed.

Visual Brain Dump

Visual brain dumps involve drawing out your thoughts and ideas instead of writing them down. You can also combine drawing and writing, whatever suits you the best. 

Mind Map Brain Dump

A mind map brain dump involves creating a visual representation of the thoughts and ideas in your head.

Mind maps are great for understanding the relationships between different topics and ideas and can help you sort out complex problems.

Brain dump template to clear your mind | SaturdayGift
Example of a brain dump template to clear your mind

Other names you can use for the brain dump

  • Brain declutter 
  • My thoughts
  • Brainstorming

Why Brain Dumps Work – The Benefits of Brain Dumping

Brain dumping is an excellent way to take care of your mental health and well-being.

Please note: I’m not a doctor or mental health professional. If you have a mental illness, please refer your doctor or a mental health professional for advice and guidance.

So how brain dump helps mental health?

There are a lot of mental health benefits to brain dumping. It can help you manage emotions, process information more effectively, and ultimately increase decision-making clarity.

Brain dumping can have several positive benefits:

Improved clarity: Writing down all your thoughts can help prioritize what is most important so that you can focus on the tasks you need to finish first. 

Stress relief: Getting everything down on paper can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety associated with having too many tasks or ideas in your head.

Improved creativity: Brain dumping can help unlock creative thinking and provide a platform for collaborative brainstorming sessions.

Increased productivity: Having everything written down in one place makes tracking progress easier and staying motivated to complete tasks.

Improved mental health: Writing down your thoughts can help you recognize patterns in behavior, identify areas where stress is coming from, and create action plans for tackling tasks.

Easier goal setting & action planning: Brain dumping can help you set realistic goals and develop action plans for achieving them.

Improved self-awareness & clarity: Writing down your thoughts can help you gain better insight into yourself and the world around you. And it can lead to increased understanding and clarity.

More positive feelings: Brain dumping can help to reduce negative feelings such as overwhelm and anxious. It can also increase positive emotions like hope, confidence, and motivation.

Studies say journaling has some effects on mental health conditions. Brain dumping can be a powerful tool to help you gain insight into yourself, your thoughts, and the world around you.

By taking the time to reflect on your brain dump, you can gain clarity and insight into what is important for you to focus on. So remember to refer back to your brain dump notes.

What is an example of brain dumping?

When I was feeling super overwhelmed about my blog and all the things I needed to do to run it smoothly, brain-dumping helped me a lot.

I wrote down all the tasks I needed to do and ideas running through my head.

Once I got it all out on paper, prioritizing tasks and developing an action plan was much more manageable.

And every time an idea or a new thought came to mind, I added it to the brain dump list.

Then I chose the most important tasks to focus on and added them to my to-do list.

And then I didn’t check the brain dump notes before it was time to add something new to my to-dos.

This way, my to-do list was doable and the small daily goals achievable, and yet I had all my thoughts, ideas, and not urgent tasks written on a list.


An effective brain dump can help you reduce stress, become more organized and productive, and stay focused on what’s important.

So why not give it a try? You may be surprised at how much better you feel after just a few minutes of dedicated brain-dumping.

What next?

Grab your favorite brain dump worksheet from this post: Brain Dump Worksheet – 23 Cute & Free Printables

Free brain dump worksheets | SaturdayGift
23 brain dump worksheets – free printables

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