Nature’s best stress reliever – Brain dumping and chunking

If you are like most of us, you wake up with your brain racing over everything you have to do.   Cleaning the house, work on a project, check emails, organize a client, attend a networking meeting, pick up something from a store and taking care of my kid is a typical day for this mompreneur.   The amount of errands, tasks, projects and basic life and home management that we are dealing with today is enough for any person to scream at 10am, “Is it happy hour yet?’

In our western culture, we have been programmed to think

Go big or go home!

Just do it!

Do it now!

If you aren’t going to do it all the way then don’t do it at all!

These messages of thinking in big and now ways, though can be very helpful, have also caused a way of thinking that has been detrimental for many of us.  Now, I’m not saying that thinking big is wrong.  Thinking big is absolutely necessary to accomplish those things in our life that extend beyond just existing.  But, in order to turn whatever you are thinking big about into a reality, you must practice the art of brain dumping and chunking.  

Brain dumping is where you take the information you have swirling around in your brain and use some sort of an external system to collect it.   Examples of external systems would be a notepad, the task list on your iPhone, Outlook tasks, Evernote, a sticky note or my personal favorite a dry erase board.   The more information you dump, the more relief you will feel in your brain.

However,  just simply transferring the information from your internal system to an external system is only part of the process.  You must take that information and organize it into groups of tasks that are similar in nature.  Tasks can be similar in nature by such ways as the part of the brain needed (like creative tasks) to do it and the location where the task would be performed.

For example, pick up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, going to the bank are all tasks that can be done while traveling around outside.  So it would make sense to group all of those tasks together to be performed in the same chunk of time, rather than doing one errand, coming home to work on another task and then running back out again to do another errand.

To finally complete this process of brain dumping, the last step is time chunking.  This is where you take a group of similar tasks and combine them in a chunk of time.  For example, from 11a-1p every Monday, you could do client invoicing, paying your bills and reconciling your money management account during that time.  These tasks are similar in nature because they are dealing with money, they require a linear way of thinking rather than creative and chances are will all be performed while sitting at your desk.

When doing an initial brain dump, I recommend collecting pieces of information such as:

  1. What tasks need to be done and how long will they take
  2. What projects are you working on and what are the next three tasks you can do to move them forward
  3. What chunk of time do you have to do the tasks in

If you can brain dump just the basic pieces of information, you will find that not only you will start to relieve a lot of stress and pressure in your brain but you will be more efficient with your time and getting things done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>