Feeling Overwhelmed? Quiet Your Mind With a Brain Dump

OverwhelmedDo you find yourself feeling overwhelmed? Maybe occasionally, maybe more often? As we move into a new season within the reality of the COVID pandemic, it’s easy to feel like it’s all too much. Things are still uncertain and subject to change at any moment. Conflicting opinions and beliefs about our current reality cause stress and many emotions.

Finding calm can be next to impossible when you have a million thoughts swirling around in your head. It’s stressful when you have so many details going on inside your brain. These rambling, disorganized thoughts are always with you and it can seem like there’s no escape. Here’s one simple trick that can help you to overcome that helpless feeling. It’s called a brain dump, and it truly is as easy as it sounds. Using this technique relieves the pressure of an overcrowded mind.

What is a Brain Dump?

A brain dump is simply taking what’s in your brain and transferring it to another place. This place can be onto a piece of paper or into digital form like a computer app or word processing program. What’s important is that you clear your mind of all the clutter so that you can think clearly again. Dumping the excess thoughts and information from your brain to a different storage location frees up valuable space. It also unloads a heavy burden and diminishes your feeling overwhelmed. You’ll feel a lot freer once you’ve experienced this process.

When to do a Brain Dump 

Consider doing a brain dump at any of these times:

  • When you feel lost, confused, or like your life has no direction.
  • When you are under a lot of stress or your anxiety is worsening.
  • When you feel out of control in your life and you don’t know how to gain control back.
  • When you have been living a chaotic or disorganized life.
  • When your ideas are getting lost among the other thoughts.
  • When your to-do lists are too long, and you can’t keep up with them.
  • When you start becoming irritable or moody for no other good reason.

Benefits of a Brain Dump

Benefits to performing a brain dump include:

  • Clearing your head. Just seeing the information in front of you gives you a sense of control over it. Your brain is cleared, kind of like a computer cache. There’s now more room in it so that it will function better.
  • Allowing you to see options. Once you have taken all those thoughts from your head and placed them in a place where you can see them, you then have a lot of options. Information is far easier to sort when it’s right in front of you than when it’s swirling around in your mind.
  • Helping you organize what you have extracted. You can now organize information into a format that makes sense, process things and make plans. Now it’s much easier to manage all the components of your life. It will be easier to gain focus and to be more productive in your home and work situations.

How to do a Brain Dump

Performing a brain dump to reduce your feeling overwhelmed

is easy.

First, choose your format. If you prefer pen and paper – perhaps in a journal – that’s great. Writing things down by hand can be therapeutic, and it can help you to retain information. Perhaps you prefer using an electronic tool, which also offers benefits and gives you digital records.

I’ve written previously about using mind-mapping a way to declutter your mind and reduce overwhelm: https://carolbrusegar.com/using-mind-mapping-to-declutter-your-brain/ You may explore that and other possibilities and then decide.

Second, set aside some quiet time, at least half an hour. Write down everything that’s in your head: thoughts, feelings, frustrations, responsibilities, stresses, etc.  Keep going until you can’t think of anything else. Try to use the time you’ve allotted, but don’t frustrate yourself if you truly can’t think of more.

Third, come back to the information later to categorize and organize it in a way that makes more sense. What’s important is that you remove the clutter from your mind, and then find a way to organize and process it all. Here are some suggestions of categories to include as you sort.

To aid in clearing the clutter, include 1)  a “parking lot” category where you place thoughts, ideas, tasks, etc. that you want to set aside for now. You can review them later to see if you want to do anything with them. 2) a “discard” category where you dump things that are extraneous, destructive or just the lowest of priority.

To capture useful ideas, thoughts and possibilities, use one or more categories like ideas, projects, priorities, etc. If you would like a FREE downloadable and printable Idea Journal to facilitate this, go here:

Idea Journal

Some people choose to do this when they feel a clear need, as described above. Others find it good weekly practice, which can keep things from building up so you are feeling overwhelmed. Once you have done this at least once, you will be able to see what might work best for you. You’ll find you feel more refreshed and can think more clearly after your brain dump session.

Amazon has a selection of brain dump notebooks, notepads, journals, etc. Brain Dump if you’d like more tools.

Revisiting Procrastination

End ProcrastinationProcrastination is a human dilemma. So many of us find ourselves procrastinating either in particular areas of our lives or under certain circumstances. There are even some of us who have perfected it and apply it to most parts of life!  A distinction I think is important is to realize that “all procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination.” Timothy Pychyl has done extensive research on the topic and points this out.

I quoted him and wrote earlier on procrastination here: PROCRASTINATION: IS IT HAMPERING YOUR TRANSFORMATION?

Perhaps you find yourself with a list of things that have been delayed during the past 18 months due to the pandemic. Are those things just delayed or are you procrastinating? Take some time to look at those things as you look at strategies.

There are many ways to approach procrastination; probably the key to managing it in our own lives is to find ways that makes sense to us and are implementable.  Here’s a simple list of four approaches from an article by Alexandra Sutcliffe to begin with:

    • “Write down your list of goals, breaking them into manageable chunks. Too big a goal and your eyes will gloss over it on the list, but broken into segments and you’ll feel more like tackling one at a time.
    • Set up a reward for later. Try disconnecting your laptop from the internet for a set period, after which you can relax and reconnect. This way you’re not denying yourself, you’re merely deferring the pleasure until you’ve got something done.
    • Attach one task to another, such as, a daily walk you enjoy, followed by the ten minutes of language study you keep putting off. Creating a routine will make any task feel more achievable.
    • If you constantly catch yourself admitting how you never get things done, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, use affirmations to spur yourself on. Remember, affirmations must always be positive, and in the present tense. Try, ‘I take charge and get things done. I seize the moment and take action.’”

For some of us, all it takes is the right idea at the right time – it’s finetuning or recalibrating our approach. For others – or for any one at a particular time and circumstance – there are deeper issues. Simply adopting a strategy won’t be sustainable because of the deeper issue.

Would you be interested in one report that includes a spectrum of ways that you might experiment with? I invite you to download my FREE “21 Ways to End Procrastination.” You can explore the options, try some and see what is effective for you.  In addition, you will have access to a worksheet that allows you to dig deeper and consider what is behind some particularly stubborn patterns of procrastination.  It’s also FREE.

  1. Click on the link below and opt in
  2. Check to prove you’re not a robot (:-)
  3.  You should be sent to the document in Dropbox where you can download it to your computer
  4. If that doesn’t happen, you will get a link in an email that will come to you within a few minutes to get you to Dropbox for your download.

21 Ways to End Procrastination

 

 

 

Journaling: Explore the Possibilities With My Free eCourse

prismAre you a journaling devotee, beginner, skeptic, or critic? Have you actually tried it or just been aware of it around you? What are your opinions about the practice?

I have come to see journaling something like a prism – a tool that can provide clarification by helping us focus on particular aspects of our lives.

Depending on what we wish to look at, there are different styles and techniques to explore.

Journaling has been a way for people to express themselves for centuries. Its current popularity can be seen in a Google search for “journaling” that returned 47,300,000 results!! This clearly indicates that there a lot of people providing lots of information on this broad topic which has many subtopics and categories.

Perhaps you are wondering what all the fuss is about and would like an overview to see what the possibilities are for you. Or perhaps you have journaled and are interested in expanding your view of the varieties and potential of journaling.

I invite you to sign up for my brand new free ecourse, “Journaling: a Prism to Clarify and Enhance All Aspects of Life.”  It is an overview that can give you some new options for using journaling. It includes some free sample journals to try.

Go here to sign up and you will receive it via email in 7 parts over 14 days. You will also have access to a Facebook group on the topic. http://carolbrusegar.com/journaling-prism-to-clarify-and-enhance-life/

Your first lesson will be available immediately upon signing up.

Check out a couple of my previous blog posts related to journaling.

The first is about 4 major purposes to journal: https://carolbrusegar.com/journaling-as-a-tool/  I talked about personal growth, self-discovery, gathering ideas and brainstorming solutions, and capturing life experiences. Journaling provides a great tool for these things.

Another great use is to nurture and increase our creativity. https://carolbrusegar.com/journaling-techniques-to-boost-your-creativity/

Habit Stacking: A Gentle Way to Enhance Your Life

Habit StackingIt’s summer and the time of year when routines ordinarily shift. Whether you have children on summer break, hours are adjusting at work or volunteer and extracurricular activities go on hiatus or ramp up, the season usually brings changes. In this year of 2021 the changes include phasing out of pandemic restrictions and figuring out what this new season will include. Habit stacking can be a great tool as you make adjustments in your own and your family’s lives.

Habit stacking is adding small things to our already existing routines. We all have morning, evening and other routines that are habits we barely think about as we do them. For example, you may get up, eat breakfast, shower, brush your teeth, and possibly exercise each morning, in that order.

Creating a new habit can seem like a job that requires effort. You’ve heard that it takes 21 days of repetition to establish a new habit; others say even longer. Yes, repetition will be necessary, but habit stacking is an easier way to make some desired changes.

Author S.J. Scott wrote a book called Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness. These are all things you can do in five minutes or less – tiny habits at its best. The book is a great tool for learning this technique.

Habit Stacking Works in All Areas of Life

Tiny habits work in all areas of life:

  • Leisure (Your days off, vacation time)
  • Organization (Keeping the house and/or workspace clean, organized, and decluttered)
  • Finances (Making and saving money, reducing debt)
  • Productivity (Finding your best working hours, getting tasks done on time)
  • Spirituality (Connecting with the earth and your Higher Power)
  • Health and Fitness (Your mental and physical well-being, including what you eat and how you exercise)
  • Relationships (Developing loving relationships with family and friends, getting along with co-workers)

Getting Started with Habit Stacking

The basic process is this:

  • decide which of the above areas you want to improve and identify why this is important to you
  • identify a current routine which you can augment with micro habits on this topic
  • choose and add/stack those micro habits to it.

For example, if you want to focus on health and fitness and you do a few minutes of yoga in the morning, you can stay on the mat and do five minutes of meditation. After that is complete, you can do four minutes of visualization, and to finish it up, do three minutes of deep breathing.

Here are some examples of areas of life where we already have routines that we can augment with the tiny habits we choose to add.

  • When we wake up in the morning
  • When we start work
  • On a break or lunch
  • After work
  • After dinner
  • When exercising

These are examples – adjust with your own life routines.

S.J. Scott believes that you should only add micro habits to one routine at a time. So using the example above, you will augment your morning yoga routine to improve your health and fitness to start with. You can add micro habits to other routines after this is one is established. Repetition is key; doing your expanded routine including the new tiny habits each day for 21 to 30 days will establish a lasting pattern.

Example of Habit Stacking

Let’s look at a daily routine for enhancing relationships using habits stacking. We will use dinner time as our example. You can stack several mini-habits like this:

  • When we prepare dinner, I will ask about their day.
  • When we sit down to eat, I will say how grateful I am for not only the food but having them in my life
  • During the dinner, I will put away my cellphone and focus on what they say
  • During cleanup, I will touch my partner’s or child’s lower back to make a physical and emotional connection.
  • After dinner, I will take their hand, and we will walk around the block while I express my love

Just like goals, being accountable will help you to succeed. Tell people what your stacked habits are, and if they see you miss a step, they can remind you what you need to do.

 

Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness includes access to a companion website with bonus downloads, checklists and videos. Here’s where to access the book:

Get S.J. Scott’s book here: Habit Stacking

 

Writing is a Powerful Tool to Enhance Your Life

Power of Writing

Writing is a powerful tool. It can help enhance your life in many ways.  As Joan Didion said,

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”  

Writing helps you create a connection between your inner self and your outer self. The mind-body connection is very powerful, and by externalizing your inner anxiety and issues you are taking a conscious positive action to improve your situation.

There are so many benefits to different kinds of writing. Here are some ways to use writing.

Processing Emotions

A simple way to understand and come to terms with your emotions is to write down whatever is bothering you. Often we have lots of emotions but don’t really know the root of them or how to manage them productively. Writing has an astounding ability to give you clarity and to start arriving at solutions. It can get you out of the confusion or paralysis you are experiencing and enable you to move forward.

One of many formats to use is letter writing. Writing a letter to yourself, a loved one, friend or someone with whom you have or had an issue in the past can really help to clarify the problem in your mind. It helps you to think through issues and to put them in context. Often the very act of writing the problem and suggesting a solution can help you achieve peace and come to terms with it.

You don’t actually need to send the letter, particularly if you have written in anger. The act of writing will have helped lessen the anger which was the purpose of the exercise. Remember, this letter can be to yourself, another person, or someone no longer alive. This strategy helps you separate out your thoughts and feelings.

Clearing Your Mind

Especially in times of uncertainty and change, our minds can be full of a wide range of thoughts. Many of them may be unimportant or irrelevant. Sometimes you have an overwhelming number of things you feel you need to do. Getting rid of them can allow you to focus and to effectively problem solve and plan.  A simple way to achieve this is to “core dump.”

Core dumping is a technique devised by David Allen (Getting Things Done). You simply list everything you need to do that day. This helps to clear your mind to allow you to focus on the most important things.

Another method of mind clearing is to write a stream of consciousness first thing in the morning every day. The important point with this process is that you write continuously without stopping to think or edit about what you are setting onto the page.

Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) calls this method, “Morning Pages”. She advocates writing three pages or approximately 750 words of your stream of consciousness first thing in the morning as a way to clear your mind. This leaves only those important thoughts you need to focus on for the day.

Creating a Record

Diary keeping has been undertaken for centuries. It’s a powerful tool for keeping a record of activities and actions. My mother kept diaries for decades, and they are now a family treasure that provides so much history that was captured in just a few lines a day. By being able to re-read these you get to remember the past including your thoughts and feelings. Keeping your own diary allows you to recall things forgotten in the overload of events and information we experience. You can also gain understanding and insight in unique ways as you look back.

Capturing Achievements

Keeping a record of your achievements can be beneficial to your self-confidence as well as self-knowledge. The record can be in various forms: journals, diaries, goal lists, to do lists, calendars. I am a sporadic journaler, but I keep my weekly task/appointment/goal calendars. These can be used to glean lists by year later on

Recording your achievements allows you to recognize and celebrate your achievements big or small. Looking back, we may recognize achievements and accomplishments that weren’t apparent at the time they occurred. This can be especially helpful when you find yourself feeling discouraged, depressed, or overwhelmed.

Big Thinking

Dreams and goals are important as they help us to learn, grow and achieve success. Writing down your hopes and dreams allows you to not only dream about the future you’d like but to visualize it. By visualizing your dreams, you are making them more real. Consider dedicating a notebook just to this purpose. Your written record of your big thoughts will help you track them giving you a greater opportunity to achieve them.

Writing is such a powerful therapeutic tool because it allows for observation and tracking over a period of time. This provides the ability to track thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. Triggers can be identified as well as patterns.

If you want to relieve stress, gain clarity on your problems and solve them then why not pick up a pen and start writing? Another unexpected benefit is that you will probably find that you get to know yourself better.

If you want your life to change, writing is a powerful tool. By using one or more of the methods above you will be creating a commitment to change and self-improvement. You can set goals, hold yourself accountable for making the changes and monitor your progress.

Here are a variety of books on writing for self-discovery if you would like to have some ideas:  Writing for Self-Discovery Resources

Create a Spring and Summer Vision Board

Vision BoardIt’s spring, and this year we are especially anticipating summer! We are excited about the possibility of more freedom to do the things we enjoy with our family and friends. This is a great time to create a Spring and Summer Vision Board!! We often thing about Vision Boards at the beginning of the year and they are a great part of planning then. I wrote about the basics of how to create vision boards here: http://carolbrusegar.com/creating-vision-boards/

We can use them seasonally as well; creating your very own and/or a family Spring and Summer Vision Board this year can be a great boost to your mental health. Take some time to gather pictures and words that illustrate your goals, ambitions, hopes and dreams for the coming season. Many of us can use a boost in looking forward as we are moving out of the pandemic (we aren’t there yet!) and this is a great way to do it. Here are some tips to get started.

Use Spring Pastels and Bright Summer Colors

Color helps to create more of a theme to get you in the spirit. A great way to do that is by focusing on the colors we associate with this time of year. The pastels of spring – yellow, pink, light blues and greens – reflect the rebirth of the earth during this season. The bright yellows, oranges, blues, red all portray the energy of summer.

Include Flowers and Gardening

To decorate this vision board, use a lot of beautiful seasonal flowers and other gardening images. If you want to create a garden someday, find images of your dream garden, both in size and layout, and the actual flowers you might include. If you just want flowers for decoration and to reflect the seasonal theme, use try hyacinth, bluebells, tulips, and lily of the valley for spring and sunflowers, zinnias, roses and others for summer.

List Your Health Goals

Decide what you want to do in the upcoming months in terms of your mental or physical wellness. Use words, lists, and images to reflect your personal health goals. Break them down to specific things you will do. For example, meditate and/or journal daily to improve your mindset and attitude. Or connect with 3 friends per week. Or picture favorite spring and summer fruits and vegetables that you will enjoy each week. Make those goals come alive and be appealing with the visuals and well-chosen words.

Choose Activities and Outings

Although we still aren’t sure what limitations will exist in the coming months due to the pandemic, it’s important for us to anticipate and make preliminary plans. With the attitude that these things may need to change, choose some of the things that are reasonable and that you would really enjoy. You may want to resume sports that have been suspended – outdoor tennis, volleyball, badminton, etc. For many of us, water-related activities will be high on the list. Think about the safest ways to do them this year and make some preliminary plans. Many of our favorites – zoos, botanical gardens, museums – have been not available, or at least in the same way, over the past year. Perhaps we can begin returning; put your priorities on your Spring and Summer Vision Board and know that pre-planning and possibly getting reservations will be necessary.

Think Creatively

One of the gifts of this time has been to raise questions about what we really want in our lives. Are there things that had seemed to be givens that you realize weren’t healthy or helpful? Let them go as you look forward. Are there things that you discovered you really enjoy and value? Assure that you do more of them.  Incorporate some of these into your Spring and Summer Vision Board.

Set aside some time and get started! This can be a great launching point to the coming months. Happy Spring and Summer!

Another tool to jumpstarting your dreaming and planning for the coming season is MIND MAPPING. I wrote about this about a year ago as we approached our first summer of the pandemic: https://carolbrusegar.com/creatively-planning-with-many-unknowns/

Use a Planner and Journal

Once you have created a Spring and Summer Vision Board or Mind Map, this could help you continue the planning and record your experiences: Planner & Journal: For Day Trips: Getaways and Mini-Vacations

Journaling as We Emerge From the Pandemic

JournalIt’s a new season for journaling! Spring 2021 feels like we are emerging – slowly, carefully please – from the depths of the pandemic. With vaccinations increasing, there is truly a sense that we are moving forward. It will take time for our activities, work, and relationships to solidify into a NEW normal. I believe that when we look back five years from now, we will see seismic changes caused by the pandemic and its aftermath. Journaling as we emerge from the pandemic is a great tool.

Journaling Through the First Year of the Pandemic

About a year ago, I wrote about journaling through the times we were entering –

https://carolbrusegar.com/journaling-through-difficult-times/

I also offered a journal that is still available as a free download here: http://carolbrusegar.com/Journaling-Through-Crisis

(Keep reading – there’s a new journal free to download at the end of this post!)

I chose to journal weekly in this format. I have now over a year of weekly accounts of what happened, what I did and reflections on them. I look forward to continuing through this year.

Journaling Through Year Two

Now that we are emerging from the worst of the crisis, it is an ideal time to not only record the halting and tentative steps forward but to anticipate and plan for YOUR next stage. This is a perfect opportunity to do something new, something bold, something beautiful. It’s a time to use your insights from the past year.

I invite and encourage you to set aside time to journal in the coming weeks and months. Journaling in this new season of spring and of emergence from the strictures of the pandemic can be helpful in multiple ways.

  • Recording and reflecting on your experiences as we move into a new phase can help us make decisions.
  • Journaling can be a tool in establishing new patterns and habits as our lives change again.
  • Our journals as written records of this time in our personal and global history will be a treasure for future review and reflection.

This new season for journaling is unique. If you already journal regularly, consider some new uses and ways to focus your journaling. If you are an occasional or novice journaler, take this opportunity to jump in.

To assist you in journaling as we emerge from the pandemic, I offer you an updated version of the journal from a year ago – one focused on creating the future. You can download it without charge, print as many of each page as you want, and put it in a folder or binder where you can use it regularly. Here it is:   http://carolbrusegar.com/moving-forward-journal-2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindset: Seeing Things in a New Way to Enhance Life

“Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way.” ~ Carol Dweck

MINDSET. I have read and heard so much about how important mindset is. It is key to our self esteem and our success (however we define that for ourselves). But what is it, really? How is it established and can we modify it?

Mindset.com defines mindset as a collection of beliefs and thoughts. To get more specific, Mindsets are a collection of beliefs and thoughts that make up our mental attitudes toward anything we encounter in our daily lives. These beliefs and thoughts form the foundation of how we react to circumstances, situations and events. Mindset becomes behind the scenes settings that we are generally unaware of but determine how we see and react to things.

A simple way to gain insight into this powerful part of ourselves is to use Carol Dweck’s understanding that there are two types of mindset – fixed or growth.

What is a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is where you believe that your qualities and traits are fixed and cannot be changed. Challenges are avoided, you’ll give up easily when you encounter obstacles and you’ll put little effort into changing as it seems pointless. It’s kind of an “I am what I am” attitude.

Having a fixed mindset can be damaging, especially if it causes you to not even try to improve or explore new things.

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is basically the opposite of a fixed mindset. It allows you to believe that challenges are opportunities and there is always the chance to improve your skills. You will not only believe that you can grow your intelligence and skills over time, but you’ll also take steps to do so.

With a growth mindset, you’ll persist when you encounter a setback and embrace challenges. You will also learn from feedback given to you and put a lot of effort into changing. When you see successful people, you’ll try and learn from their success.

A growth mindset basically means you’ll be open to growth and development and are passionate about learning.

How can I know what my mindset is?

One of the easiest ways to see what your mindset is to see examples of the two options.

You have a growth mindset if you believe things like this:

  • I’m not a natural writer, I have to learn it
  • There is a lot I still need to learn
  • Feedback gives me an opportunity to learn how to improve
  • Failure is a learning curve
  • If I have determination, I can do anything

On the other hand, you have a fixed mindset if you believe things like this:

  • Some people are born to be writers and I am not one of them
  • I have learned everything I need to know
  • Feedback is criticism
  • I’m only going to fail so what’s the point in trying?
  • I can’t overcome the challenges in my way

A growth mindset allows you to move forward and achieve the things you want.

Examples of switching from a fixed to a growth mindset

If you’re looking to turn a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, consider these examples of consciously changing your beliefs on various topics:

Fixed mindset: “I’m a binge eater. Once I start eating chips I can’t stop”

Growth mindset: “I have tended to binge eat chips and it’s been hard to stop after just one”

Fixed mindset: “I always get worked up over politics”

Growth mindset: “In the past, I have gotten worked up over politics”

Fixed mindset: “I could never forgive someone who betrayed me”

Growth mindset: “So far, I haven’t been able to forgive someone for betraying me”

Fixed mindset: “I’m never going to achieve my dream”

Growth mindset: “It may be difficult to achieve my dream, but I know with effort and dedication I can do it”

Fixed mindset: “It’s too late to learn now”

Growth mindset: “I can learn whatever I need to whenever I like”

These are just some great examples of a fixed and growth mindset. A fixed mindset will see you stuck in old patterns of behavior. You won’t grow or develop your skills and most importantly, you’ll never reach your life goals if you have a purely fixed mindset.

Balancing growth and fixed mindsets

While a growth mindset is important, it shouldn’t solely take the place of a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset can actually have some benefits when it is balanced with a growth mindset.

So, adopting a growth mindset isn’t about completely eliminating fixed ways of thinking. Instead, it’s a great tool for helping you to move forward and learn from your experiences.

Now that you know some common fixed and growth mindset examples, you can start to work on making changes you choose. Learning to recognize your fixed mindset is the first step to adjusting it. Identify areas where you want to change that and begin to consciously move toward a growth mindset. You may find it takes a little time and you may have to work to identify when your old beliefs and patterns kick in.

Use tools like journaling to record where you are, where you want to go and the process along the way.

Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, is a great resource for exploring these ideas. (https://amzn.to/2On3TCn)

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” ~ Carol Dweck

 

 

 

 

Is Bullet Journaling a Helpful Tool For You?

bullet journalIn today’s busy world, where we have to keep track of lots and lots of information, almost anyone can benefit from bullet journaling. This particular system of staying organized has some unique properties that make it particularly helpful for people who thrive on lists and appreciate a non-digital system. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide if bullet journaling is right for you.

If You Use To-Do Lists Bullet Journaling May Be For You

If you’re a fan of to-do lists and have one sitting at your desk or your kitchen counter, then a bullet journal may work very well for you. Think of it as a large, ongoing to-do list that also helps you keep track of appointments, grocery lists and the likes. And since it’s all in one journal, no more frantic searches for that little list that held everything you needed to do today. (That is unless you misplace your journal – but that will be a bit easier to find than a piece of scrap paper).

If You Are Looking For An Analog System Bullet Journaling May Be For You

Our electronic devices are great, but sometimes you want to go back to pen and paper. If you want an organized, easy to deal with system that requires no batteries or Wi-Fi, then this will be a good fit for you.

Even if you think your Google Calendar handles everything for you, I would like to encourage you to give this a try. There’s just something about writing things down by hand that helps us process them differently.

If You’re Looking For a Creative Outlet Bullet Journaling May Be For You

If you are looking for a creative outlet but you just don’t have the time to sit down and sketch, paint, or create, then bullet journaling may be a good fit for you. As you plan your day, you can let out your creative side as you doodle and decorate your daily pages. Of course this is completely optional.

If You Feel Like You’re Keeping Track Of Too Much “Stuff” In Your Head Bullet Journaling May Be For You

Do you have a constant running tally in you head of everything you need to do and remember today? That takes up a lot of brain space. A bullet journal may be the perfect solution because it helps you jot down all those appointments, to-dos, meetings, and ideas you don’t want to forget as they come up.

Writing them down allows you to forget about them and stop running that constant long list of stuff in your head that you need to remember. Just think of what you can do with all that extra brain capacity and how much less stressed you’ll feel when you stop to worry about forgetting something.

If You Need Something Mobile Bullet Journaling May Be For You

A big advantage of the bullet journal is that it’s nothing more than a notebook and a pen. You can sit down anytime, anywhere to plan, check on your progress through the day, or add a new line item. There’s no need to hunt down a power outlet and it works just fine in bright sunlight.

Frankly it’s nice sometimes to unplug and get some thinking done away from your computer or smartphone.

Even if you don’t count yourself in all or even most of these groups, I encourage you to give it a try. You may not think of yourself as a list or “pen and paper” type person, but may find that this is just what you needed to stay on top of everything that’s thrown at you on a daily basis.

Although you can effectively use bullet journaling with a simple notebook, it is helpful to look at what’s available for ideas and possibilities. To here to explore what’s available, both in how-tos and purchased bullet journals:  Bullet Journaling for You?

 

 

 

Using Mind Mapping to Declutter Your Brain

mindmap

Decluttering our space, at home or at work, as a group or individual effort, is a much-touted strategy. You may have watched a few hoarder reality shows on TV and either been inspired or assured that your own clutter isn’t THAT bad.

Perhaps you have undertaken the task of decluttering your computer, deleting unwanted files, and organizing your desktop for maximum efficiency. You may have a regular schedule of doing that throughout the year. But have you thought of decluttering your brain?

Very few people think of their brain as a computer, if they think about it at all. Yet, the brain is a supercomputer and extremely powerful in the way it can make connections. It can also get overwhelmed and sometimes confused. Human beings tend to absorb tons of information and hold onto bits that are of no use and may even be harmful to their thinking.

There are ways to do minor brain decluttering, such as journaling or making tiny to-do lists. For large scale decluttering, mind mapping is an extremely effective strategy.

You may be familiar with other uses for mind mapping, particularly to brainstorm and plan. But using it to declutter your brain is very powerful. Here are areas of life where decluttering may be especially needed.

Relationships

Complicated relationships tend to overwhelm the brain and cause negative thoughts to develop like weeds in your yard. Those negative thoughts overtake the positive thoughts and clutter the brain with images that bounce around like a box of golf balls dropped from 100 feet. The thoughts are suddenly all over the place. When we speak of relationships, we are talking about significant others, children, friends, and even co-workers. A mind map allows you to take the core problem and then drill it down to find solutions. All the thoughts regarding the relationship are in front of you, placed in an organized process rather than helter-skelter.

Information Overload

We take in a lot of information from what we read, see, and hear. In today’s world, we are bombarded with information, and we do not need all of it to function daily. All this information bouncing around in your head causes serious clutter. Mind mapping helps you to put down the pertinent information you need right now, information you want to record and be able to access at another time, and discard what you don’t need.

You may have a large-scale work project, and the information is coming fast and furious. You may even find people giving you input that is not related to the project you are working on.

Mind mapping that project drills down to what is needed and what is not. It will also help you to organize and create new ideas that will help with your project. Working on a project without using a mind map means you may forget things that are in your head but not at the front and center of your thoughts. Capturing them and connecting to them to where they can be used is a great function of mind mapping. It’s a great part of an effort to declutter your brain.

Organizing Your Thoughts

With so many things to do in a day, your thoughts can become disorganized, and the clutter becomes overwhelming as your brain skips from project to project, relationship to relationship. This can be especially true when we are doing so many things virtually and there are not the usual clear delineations between home, work, school, etc.

Mind mapping eliminates the clutter as you have a focus point, which is the center theme in your mind map. Building out the main branches and sub-branches is similar to creating a well-written outline for a non-fiction book. By the time you complete all the branches, you can see where your thoughts are, what the route is, and where the journey ends. All the distractions are moved aside or deleted, and this will serve to declutter your brain and provide clarity and direction.

Mind mapping can be used as a daily tool as well as for longer time frames. Experiment with it and see how effective it is in decluttering your brain and helping you feel more in control.

I have written previously about mind mapping here:

https://carolbrusegar.com/creatively-planning-with-many-unknowns/

https://carolbrusegar.com/mind-mapping-enhances-innovative-thinking/

https://carolbrusegar.com/transforming-years-after-50-introducing-mind-mapping-multi-purpose-tool/

If you really want to learn about mind mapping from the originator of the technique, Tony Buzan published this just a couple of years ago. It’s a distillation of global research that has happened in the 5 decades since he first created this technique.

Mind Map Mastery: The Complete Guide to Learning and Using the Most Powerful Thinking Tool in the Universe 

 

Mind Map Book - Buzan