The brain is quite impressive. It can hold on to memories or ideas for eons, but also cause you to forget why you walked into a room. There are many factors that go into this, but one key exercise can help you refocus, shake out some mental cobwebs, and move forward with confidence.
Meet the brain dump.
- Your brain is great at forming ideas, not remembering all them.
- You likely remember more than you realize. Just give it time.
- Lower stress levels to increase productivity
Clarity Leads to Focus
From your life at home to your life at work, we are forced to keep many things in our mental reserves once. This might be a longer term project, what you need to get at the grocery store this weekend, or the steps it takes to do your laundry. Storing all that knowledge is great until the moment when your brain can’t find what it is looking for. Your brain is an idea creator, not an unlimited storage unit. It has a capacity.
It’s important to do what is often referred to as a brain dump. Take a notebook and pen, your favorite note taking app, and just start writing down everything that is on your mental radar. Many items can go straight back in, but you can also find a number of items you can quickly take care of to free up a little mental space.
Lay it all out there. There isn’t a wrong answer here at all, it’s just trying to document everything that is taking mental energy from you.
The Forgotten Task
It is quite common to get an email, phone call, or text message from a colleague, family member, or your boss asking you to complete a task or for a status on something.
You instantly draw a blank and half admit to yourself that you’ve forgotten about the item in question. Stress begins to rise and you soon realize your initial reply might not be enough. This is where the dump comes in.
Finish the task you are currently focused on, clear the decks, and start the brain dump. This time you are mainly focused on the individual task. Ask yourself how it first crossed your desk. What have you done so far? Were you waiting on someone or something?
In just a matter of minutes you have a lot of knowledge written down. We’re going to predict that the actual status update is much better than you expected.
One Thing, One Focus
When applied to a single item, the brain dump is a powerful action. You allowed yourself to focus on one specific thing. Nothing else. Not the plans for lunch, the email that just came into your inbox, or the text message that came in during the middle of the brain dump.
You cut out the noise and allowed your brain to focus just on the signal itself. No static. No buffering.
This is one of the strongest forms of focus you can get in a short amount of time.
Proof for the Future
By allowing yourself to focus on that one specific thing, you have proven to yourself that you actually do have what it takes to maintain a high amount of focus which turns into greater efficiency.
You lowered your stress in a quick action and showed that with a little focus, you can actually get a lot done.
Once you capture this feeling, you can start to work on scaling this concept of focus to much longer period of times and on much larger projects. This is where real change starts to happen… it just happens one hour at a time.