How to do Brain Dump Process for Functional Planning and Free Printable

Do you have too many thoughts running around your head? Do you keep forgetting things and running over deadlines? Tired of all the clutter and noise in your life? Do you need a way to organize and prioritize those thoughts so they don’t overwhelm you and keep you from living your best life?

If so, then this blog post is for YOU! Keep reading because I’m going to share with you the ultimate guide on how to brain dump.

1. What is Brain Dump Process ?

Brain dump process is a simple and effective time management hack that helps get everything out of your head and onto paper. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your to-do list, things that went wrong today, or just the thoughts running around in your head. If you have any tasks/thoughts related to projects you need to work on, things you want to buy online or in a store, errands you need to run at some point during the day tomorrow, all of this can be included in a brain dump.

2. Why Should Someone Do a Brain Dump?

It can be difficult sometimes for us to get into our own heads, with the right technique writing out your thoughts can be very beneficial. You may find that you are able to more fully relax or get into a creative mood after writing out some of your ideas and letting your mind rest for awhile (think how it feels when you put on some classical music at the end of a work day). Everything from productivity to mindfulness to relaxation is something that many experts highly recommend for nearly everyone, so why not try it? Even if you journal, spend some time thinking about your daily tasks.

3. How Does Brain Dump Process Relate to Time Management?

The goal of this exercise is not to get these things off your plate today but rather keep track of them so they don’t fall through the cracks. If you don’t write it down, sooner or later you will remember the ‘Important’ thing that you should be doing and later struggling to finish it in time. Worst is when you produce a bad quality work.

So, having a brain dump list will help you to manage your tasks with better time management.

Brain Dump Printable Thought Organizer  A4 A5 Letter & image 1
Lots of Brain Dump inserts are available on Etsy (Photo from AnastasiaPrintables)

4. How to do a brain dump

The ultimate goal of any time management hack is to reduce stress and increase productivity throughout your day. A successful way to reach this goal is by following these three step Brain Dump Process :

Step 1: List everything out

To begin, get yourself some lined paper (or print the list of items below) and write down anything you can think of that you need or want to accomplish in the next day or week, however small it may be. The more organized your thoughts are the easier it will be for you to complete them later on when you sit down to work/create/focus.

Step 2: Breakdown your tasks

Now, break down each task into smaller tasks if they’re too big and write these next to the original task. For example:  If one of my tasks was “write an article for blog”, I would then write out all the steps needed to complete this project like research, outline, draft etc. If I wanted/needed help with any part of this process, I would list out what the assistance would be. One thing I like to do is make sure I’ve included all these steps before I go on to the next one, this way it helps me ensure that nothing important has been missed. But, of course, when you move on to the next one, there can be times where you will remember the step that you will need to do in the earlier step.

Step 3: Prioritize your tasks based on its importance and urgency

Once you have everything out of your head and onto paper, it will be easier for you to organize and prioritize. You can separate the items into three different categories:

Next Action or Do now

Put those things that absolutely need to be done now at the top of your list so that they get done as soon as possible. Keep track of things that are not time sensitive or that can wait until tomorrow or even next week. Personally, I like using the Eisenhower Matrix to help me arrange tasks according to its sensitivity.

Look over this list throughout the day and make sure you complete your priorities before moving onto anything less urgent. Or you can also set a Deep Work time in your schedule to focus on your priority list.

Note: So long as you stay productive, you can put almost anything on your list, but if you feel that the tasks at the top of this list are taking more than 30-65% of your time, adjust accordingly. Whatever is at the top needs to be done first and more often than not before you move onto other things.


This section should include all of the items that aren’t pressing but still need to get done either today or within a few days/week (i.e buying paper clips). If it’s something like “get hair cut,” you might want to check with your schedule to see how much time you’ll have in the next couple days. Keep track of what will be coming up soonest so that there isn’t double booking like allocating too much time to work on your “someday/maybe” items.

Unknown Yet

If you can’t quite decide if something needs done or not, it belongs in this list. Keep track of these for now so that you have a running list of the things that are still weighing down your mind even though they may be less important than others. Review this list throughout the day as well to see what’s been taking up more space than necessary and either delete them or put them into one of the other two categories where they belong. This way you won’t overload yourself with unnecessary stress.

Bonus Tip: Categorizing tasks

It also helps to categorize tasks first according to its specific classes like work, personal, computer and etc. Categorizing will help you to batch your tasks into one section.

For example, let’s say, you categorize tasks under computer. So, you know that when you are using your computer, you can complete the tasks that related to it.

4. Benefits of doing a brain dump

The benefit of doing a brain dump is that it can help you to get organized and provide better time management in your life. It also helps you to:

Getting your thoughts out

By getting your thoughts out, your mind will not be cluttered and you will have better focus and concentration on the activities that truly matters.

Managing time well

You feel better after getting all the things out from your mind and knowing what needs to be done immediately so you don’t have worry about them later. Plus, if you get everything out on paper, you won’t have to worry about forgetting something important.


It also helps with relaxation because once you know what needs to be done and when it’s due, there’s no more worrying until that time comes around for it to be due or complete. You can then turn off your brain and just relax knowing that everything is written down already. It will free up your mind so that you can focus on other things like spending time with family.


Brain dumping is one of the simplest time management hacks that exist and once you’ve done it a couple times, it may become second nature for you as well.

Always make sure to keep track of things like deadlines and specific contact information by writing these down at the top or bottom next to whatever task they relate to so that nothing falls through the cracks and if something does fall through the cracks, there should now be enough information for you to easily find where it belongs. Set aside about 10 minutes every night before bed (i.e write an email thanking someone ) to plan out tomorrow so that you have a clear, organized plan of attack. You can even set alerts on your phone or calendar if it helps.

And remember: just do one thing at a time! It’s so easy to get distracted by things not directly related to what needs done now or right away; but if we don’t prioritize our tasks according to when they’ll need attention (i.e., if something will come up soon), then we won’t be as efficient with our energy and focus.

Download Free BrainDump Printables

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.