I believe I have briefly talked about my love for brain dumps in my planner, or my use of a trigger list before in past posts about my planner system, but you still might be wondering, “What’s a brain dump?” or “What’s a trigger list?” so I decided to break it down and teach everyone what I know about this amazing tool!
The reason this is in my Preptober series is that NaNoWriMo is definitely a chaotic time for our brains, and this can really help bring that chaos out of you, and onto a sheet where it can be easily sorted out. I always find myself getting overwhelmed in November and this is really the only thing that calms me down.
So the first thing you will need is a notebook you take around with you all the time, or if you would rather, you can get one of those legal notepads and just completely chicken scratch it, and then input the important information you find into your bullet journal. For me, I use my older half used notebooks, so that I can use them up and store them after. A good example is this notebook below. It was formerly a school notebook for my last semester but I have decided to make it my brain dump book, whenever I need to write something out of my head, it goes in here. This is an extension of my brain.
It’s just a simple composition book from Walmart, I got it in the summer before I went back to school.
The next thing you are going to want to do is take another piece of paper, and go through this master trigger list and write down all of the things that apply to you. The point of this is to write down only the triggers that you have to worry about, the less you have on the list, the quicker the brain dump will be, but be honest, don’t skip things just because you don’t want to make yourself think about them. Now I have been working on putting together a trigger list specifically for writers/authors, but it’s not finished yet, I’m thinking of making it a downloadable sheet, if that is something you’re interested in, please let me know!
After you write them on your piece of paper, find a way to attach them to your notebook, it can also work as bookmark! **If you plan on dedicating a part of your planner or a whole notebook to this, I recommend you create an idea index at the front, and colour code it so that nothing gets lost, because depending on how busy your brain is, this book can get super hectic (mine does at least!).**
The next step is going to be on a daily or nightly basis. Every night I sit down before bed, and I go through my trigger list. Its a list of things that I need to make myself think about, pertaining to work, freelance, school and projects. I just write out everything that comes into my brain when I think about those things and about 6 pages later I am left exhausted and calm.
I do this at night because it helps me sleep better if I have nothing in my head to worry about forgetting.
If there was one thing that I could recommend for you to do EVERY DAY, no matter what, it would be this. Honestly, this saves my sanity every day and I am so happy to share it with you. There is a lot of information online about brain dumps or mind sweeps but this is the best way that works for me!
Let me know if this helps you out at all and feel free to comment below with your brain dump systems!