Remember the last time you were packing for a trip and you were running through the list of things you needed to pack in your head and you thought ‘Phone charger. Don’t forget the phone charger’. So you pack all your things and you’re on the road when you realize that you forgot your phone charger. AGAIN. Maybe you should have made a list after all.
Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens to us all the time with our work as well. Those little nagging things that you keep in your brain; little to-dos, deadlines, questions and IOUs. Those things are wasting space that could be used to increase productivity and creativity in your day to day life.
In this article on taking advantage of your brain’s hidden productivity powers, Scott Shafer is quoted as saying “The reality is that mental lists distract you from other, more productive uses of your brain like solving problems, he says. Mental lists are more difficult to manage than physical lists. They often feel larger and more overwhelming than they actually are, and they are nearly impossible to prioritize and estimate.”
Our brains are pretty awesome. They can do and remember a lot. Unfortunately, the more we make them remember the less room they have for doing. That’s why it’s an inefficient use of our brains to store our to-do lists and ideas there and why we should be doing “brain dumps” on a regular basis.
How to effectively do a brain dump is described in the linked article, but it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Take all the lists and ideas you have running through your head and write them down. Then you are able to organize and prioritize tasks and ideas so that you can focus on one at a time. Who doesn’t love crossing a completed item off a list?
You can do this with paper and pen, or an app that allows you to record and organize your thoughts (Personally, we think Stormboard is wickedly awesome for this. We might be a little biased). If you’d like a little inspiration for how you can turn a brain dump into something productive, we recommend trying this out.
P.S. Don’t forget to pack the phone charger.