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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Brain Dump - Declogging a Cluttered Mind


Why don't we achieve as much as we want to, and are capable of, inspite of all the (mythical) multitasking that we do ? 

                 ........ FOCUS happens to be the single most important factor responsible for our inability to achieve to our potential  !

Now, let me ask whether you have any idea about the human attention span ?

Well, at present it stands at about 8 seconds and is bound to decrease further if the consumption of technology keeps increasing at this pace. In fact, a goldfish has a better attention span than humans.

So, in the midst of all this technology permeation and information overload, where do we,humans, stand ?  For humans, it's not really easy to survive this onslaught of information overdose and is bound to impact them adversely. We, humans, are already subject to many unconscious bias that lead to irrational thinking and decision-making (Related ArticleCognitive Biases - Braving The Brain Barriers and this information overload just adds to the existing problem. There is a direct impact our mental health and productivity.

Research says that we,humans, get about 50,000 thoughts per day and about 70% of these are negative and about 90% of these are repetitive. These thoughts could be anything ranging from fear, worries, ideas, chores, goals, aspirations, and so on. Our brain is definitely going to get clogged with so many thoughts and cloud our thinking and action.

Another fact about brain states that our body sends about 11 million bit of information per second for processing to the brain but the brain only processes about 40-50 bits of information per second in a conscious way.

Amidst the potential of human brain, the biggest challenge that gets posed to humans is how to derive sense from this barrage of thoughts and bring some meaning to our life, in terms of achieving our goals and accomplishing our dreams. This asks for a solution that could help us lay out the chaos happening in our brain (the thoughts) in front of us and then identify which one we need to focus on.

Let me share with you about an extremely simple tool/ technique that could help us turn this commotion into clarity. This tool is "Brain Dump". Lets dig deep and understand more about this tool

Definition and Background of Brain Dump

Brain Dump is a tool/ technique that helps us put down all our thoughts (random and specific) outside our brain (head used interchangeably) onto some other storage media, which can be physical or
digital. Another simple definition could be to perceive brain dump as transfer of knowledge/ information from our brain to some storage media. Even literally, the term "brain dump" refers to copying the (contents of ) brain to a different location, to protect against loss.

The term "brain dump" was popularised by David Allen , the Productivity Guru, in his book Getting Things Done


Need for Brain Dump

There's so much worth to all that we contain in our brain. The thoughts in our brain could very well be some unique idea, our aspirations, ambitions, goals, solutions to a difficult problem (talking only about the positive thoughts). For lack of an opportunity to pay attention to them and focus on them, we lose out on bringing them to fruition and/ or actualising them . "Brain Dump" is that opportunity to make things happen. Most importantly, brain dump helps us overcome the feeling of overwhelmingness and puts us in a state of better control of things pertaining to our life. Simply put, our thoughts create our destiny and if the brain is cluttered with too many thoughts, it only blocks us from realising our goals.

Leaving the thoughts unaddressed could put us under tremendous mental stress and may lead to frustration, anxiety, mood swings, depression and many similar issues.

There are tremendous benefits of brain dump. Some of the key ones include 
  • Clarity about next steps
  • In better Control of things
  • Results is Peace of Mind and makes more Calm and Relaxed
  • Makes us more Organised 
  • Allows us to be Creative in trying out new ideas and generating better solutions 
  • Manage Time Better 
  • Be more Relaxed and Stress Free   
  • Become more Focused to pay attention to the relevant
  • Get more Productive 
  • Helps in Decluttering and filtering out the irrelevant
  • Helps in Planning better 
Food for Thought - Remember, the writer's block syndrome ? Brain Dump could definitely be a means to help us step out of the block when the mind is struggling to put structure to words. 


How to do Brain Dump

Firstly, how do we identify that we need a brain dump ? Well, when the mind feels heavy and thinking appears cloudy is an indication that we need a brain dump to move it our of our head and lay it in front of us. 

Doing brain dump is quite easy and can be done in the following way 
  • Grab a pen and paper or open the note taking or word processing digital app or tool.  
  • Sit undisturbed for 20-30 min (we may alter the time based on our need - it could be less or more than the specified time). In case we decide to do it longer, we can take a short 5 min break in between
  • Write down everything that comes to the mind. It could be thoughts, feelings, errands, reminders, goals,dreams, fears, doubts, problems, solutions, aspirations, to-do, projects, etc. 
  • And there, we have the brain dump nicely laid in front of us
  • Now, we may use this dump for categorising the items, prioritising them for action (this step is not part of the brain dump process but an extension of it )

Features of Brain Dump
  • It needs minimal structure
  • It's free flowing in nature 
  • It does not expect us to be perfect in what we write
  • We may do the brain dump on a plain sheet or paper, or on some journal or any piece of stationery of our choice. Few of the types that you could buy are  Amazon Classic Notebook , Factor Notes Dotted Bullet , Doodle Adventure of the Mind Notebook
  • It's an anytime, anywhere activity and all it needs is some dedicated time.
  • Based on the need, it can be done at any time 
  • Based on the need, it can be done as many times  
  • It's personal in nature 
  • Initially, Brain Dump could be done an a demand/ ad-hoc basis but later it could be built within our daily routine, maybe twice a day - 1. before going to sleep, and 2. after waking up, as first thing in the morning.

Precautions during Brain Dump
  • Start brain dump simple and easy
  • Don't think too much during the activity. Simply, let the thoughts flow
  • Just write and write whatever comes to the mind
  • Don't be judgemental about what we write
  • Don't do it as a family, team or group activity. Remember, our thoughts are our own.
  • Don't bother if what you have written doesn't make sense. Eventually, it will  :)
  • Don't jump to categorising items before putting in down on some storage (paper sheet or digital tool)
  • You may use black or coloured pen/ pencils for brain dump but ensure that whatever we dump is legible
There are plenty of templates for brain dump available on the internet. Here's link to one of the simplest Brain Dump Template. Some of the digital tools we can use for brain dump are Google Docs, Evernote and any tool with a voice memo feature.

You may find more interesting Brain Dump journals here Brain Dump Journal

N.B. - The images used in this post/ article have been sourced from the internet. 

The post also contains some affiliate links and i may earn some commission for my endorsement, testimonial, and/ or link to any product or service from this post  


I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's #MyFriendAlexa

151 comments:

  1. It's a wonderful technique that works with 100% efficiency. I've personally used this many times. If you're in trouble and confused with a blend of thoughts, it's a must read and this will lead you to a definite solution.

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    1. Hi Sampada, thanks for reading the post and endorsing the tool. The tool is extremely simple but so beneficial in decluttering our brain and bringing order and balance in out lives. Thanks for your kind words :)

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    2. I didn't know about Brain Dump technique until I read your post. The benefits are amazing. I'm definitely going to try this one. Thanks a lot for writing about this. 🙂

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  2. I was unaware about this concept, I am sure it is very useful. will come back to this post before I actually try to do a Brain Dump.

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    1. thanks for your comments. indeed, it's indeed a very useful tool and i am sure you are going to love using the tool :)

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  3. I must say you write so well. Seems to be an effective technique to declutter the brain. Bookmarking the post.

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    1. Hi Srishti, thanks a lot for your kind words and it feels all the more good when it comes from you :)

      Oh yes, Brain Dump is an exceptionally simple tool that can do wonders for us. It not only removes chaos and confusion from our mind but also results in better clarity about things to focus our energy and effort on.

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  4. An interesting topic! Great work!

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  5. This is actually one of the most informative post ... got to know many new things now..

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    1. Thanks Ruchi. I am happy to know that you found the posts useful :)

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  6. I definitely need a brain dump! Sounds like its easy to do, though i dont know if I could write everything that comes to mind! Will try

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    1. Hi Brinda, doing it for the first few times may be a little difficult but after that you will find it the most useful tool, maybe a stress buster :)
      The best way to start is to stop judging your thoughts when you write..simply write your thoughts and not think what all to write. The idea is to move thoughts out of our mind onto some other storage where we could view them and work on them .

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  7. 8 sec is a really short span and it's an eye opening fact. I did sit idle of 8 seconds and it looked no less than a punishment. I was tempted to swipe across my phone or give a call to someone. Phew!! our generation is so overloaded with work.

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    1. 😀, so the 8 second theory is now tried , tested and proved. Indeed the attention span is decreasing and the more gadgets and technology we surround ourselves with, the more our attention span is going to dwindle.

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  8. your tips indeed come handy and needs efforts for self resilience ..Thank u for writing this

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  9. Whoa, that 8 second theory really looks opt for current age. These are some useful tips for mental health.

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    1. Well, as they say "every second matters" and so is the case with our attention span. The less it becomes, the more of it we want and that's how we have people embracing techniques like mindfulness, meditation to build focus and attention.

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  10. Thank you for this... this is actually something I need in my life right now. Sharing for sure

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    1. Thanks a ton for your comments. Indeed, each one of us need it most of the times because of the VUCA that we operate in. The sooner we imbibe something like this, the sooner we could become more relaxed, calm and productive :)

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  11. This is one of my weekly activity to bring out every things going on my mind just to write and then plan for the week. At times, when am unable to write any article but have a lot of things to say. I do brain dump. and it always help me.

    This is a well articulated article Narinder. Saying all about H-5Ws with right amount of details, Without overwhelming the readers.

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    1. Wow .that's awesome to know that you are already using it to good effect. The results show in your posts too :)

      Thanks for your encouraging words 😊

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  12. Wow! This is was a super-interesting post! I never realized it but I think my blog writing is kind of a brain dump - it feels cathartic after I write a post! Everyone needs to to this, especially in these times when we are bombarded with tech and knowledge overload!

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    1. Hi Kala, thanks for the compliments. It's so nice to know that how releasing and rewarding you find blogging as :) so keep going strong. Indeed, every one of us should go for a brain dump every now and then

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  13. Wonderful technique of decluttering mind to get a better organized one. Love the graphics ;). Thanks for the tips.

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  14. Hi Narinder, I am really enjoying myself reading your blog posts. They are really informative and inspirational. I had no idea what the term Brain Dump meant.. I think all of us have to take out some time to declutter our thoughts and need some time to just detox to start afresh!

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    1. Hi Simrit, thanks for your encouraging comments. it feels good to know that you are benefiting from the posts :)

      You nailed it - Declutter and Detox is the way to live in these times and Brain Dump just makes it so easy to achieve that.

      Thanks for your time :)

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  15. I need to try this for sure. Looks really interesting. A very detailed and helpful post.

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    1. thanks and i am happy that the post prompts you to try it :)

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  16. i cant believe this really exists as a term.. I mean i do it sometimes. and i used to feel like cc cleaner in computers

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    1. Now you can put a name/ label to that activity :)
      It does act as a cleansing activity for the brain

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  17. I loved your post. I had no idea about the brain dump and I think I really need it. So I'm putting those points to practice right away!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments and glad to know you liked it :) I think we live in times where there is a constant need for us to declutter our brain regularly to avoid falling trap to stress and disorder. This tool brings in so much of clarity in our life and leads us towards better balance and productivity.

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  18. That is somthing very unique for me

    I dont know what to say

    But brain dumping looking promising

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    1. Thanks. Please try it once and you will reap its benefits :)

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  19. This is fabulous, how on earth did I not know about it yet. I am definitely trying it soon as I feel my brain is going to explode with so many thoughts.

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    1. don't worry, there's a saviour for our brain in the form of "Brain Dump":) I am sure you are going to enjoy it when you use it !

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  20. I really liked the way you mentioned steps to declutter the clogged mind. Apart from that the whole post is great and informative. I think in today's technology paced world we should take out time and declutter our minds.

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    1. Thank you so much for liking the article and i hope it provided you with pointers to get started :)
      You are absolutely right about the need for decluttering in times where we constantly get bombarded with so much information and find it tough to focus and manage

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  21. A different kind of article.
    I do this often .
    When I feel that I am overthinking , I write down every thing in my diary and feel good 🙂

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    1. That's awesome to hear that you are already using the technique :) A diary is indeed a wonderful resource to refer back anytime and it, surely, will throw up many surprises every time - the ideas, the thoughts, the solutions or simply scribbles :)

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  22. A very useful post. I discovered this technique years back and it works wonders for me. Your blog has some excellent tips. Do keep sharing.

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging words Ritu :)
      It's great to know that you have been using this tool effectively for quite sometime now.I hope you keep deriving benefits from the tool and keep making your life better :)

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  23. I really liked the good tips you shared in this post. Everyone must read and benefit from this, especially in the present times.

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    1. Thanks for the appreciation :)
      So glad that you found it useful.
      Just wish that you give this tool a try and reap its benefits.

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  24. People face so much stress these days that strategies like this come in handy.

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    1. Indeed, amidst all the stress that we face, simple strategies like these are like a blessing in disguise

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  25. I like this word brain dump, that's something which keeps nagging time and again but now I know the right phrase for it.

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    1. Happy you liked the term and I am sure you will like the tool also when you put it to use :)

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  26. Exactly, Leaving the thoughts unaddressed could put us under tremendous mental stress.

    You are doing a job to solve other's problems through your articles.

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    1. You are absolutely right about the "thoughts". We can't leave them unaddressed else like demons they will keep haunting us.

      Thanks for the compliment :)

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  27. Very interesting and unique post. Declogging and decluttering is so imp for the brain to work properly.
    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia #MyFriendAlexa

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    1. Indeed, a clear brain holds the key to clarity in life :)
      Thanks for your comments

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  28. Wish i can learn it too, to de-clutter my mind with endless thoughts. informative article and thanks for sharing detailed features and benefits of brain dump. will surely try much needed. #PraGunReads

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    1. It's a simple tool/ technique and super easy to use. you just need to decide to start unloading your mind on paper or some electronic note taker. I am sure you would feel much relaxed afterwards :)

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  29. Very interesting post in this series

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  30. Quite interesting! Though not sure how much I would be able to de-clutter and de-clog my brain.

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    1. Hi, Just make a start with as much as you can manage and with time you will get better with it :)

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  31. Wow! learnt a new concept....Brain Dump. Jotting down thought would help of course but how many can we put down compared to those that were racing in our minds? If our brains were not so crowded wouldn't there be lots more clarity? Thanks for sharing Narender #wordsmithkaurreads #MyFriendAlexa #BlogChatter

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    1. well said - yes, there would be so much clarity if our brain won't be that much clogged. Just don't worry about how much you will be able to put down on paper. Just start doing it and the gradually you will start improving in the practice

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  32. You have described a very effective tool for uncluttering our thoughts. This process would definitely improve the clarity of our thought processes. Great post.

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    1. Thanks and happy to know that you liked the post :)

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  33. Interesting topic. New concept for me.

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    1. thanks. hope you found it simple enough to start using it :)

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  34. Its a very interesting post. This concept is actually new to me but i am glad I came across your post. Thanks to #MyFriendAlexa. The tips you have mentioned here are worth sharing.

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    1. thanks a lot for your kind comments :)
      I hope you start using the tool

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  35. You have described brain dump amazingly. It is something I have used so many times. I swear by it.

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    1. Thanks Shreeya and nice to hear that you have used it multiple times and found it useful.

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  36. Ultimate post much needed in this rush hour/life to take a pause from all and go for brain dump practice, After reading your article I feel I started practising this brain dump long back by taking an initiative of pouring down thoughts on paper of my all family members Once in a week and asking them to read each other’s thought and discuss on solutions and that too in shortest way, but today only I got to know it was kinda brain dump activity.Thanks for sharing such a detailed post about it.

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    1. wow..its wonderful to read how used to practice it years back :)
      i think all of us have been using it in some way, it's just that we have a name for it now.

      It's like a cleansing of the brain :)

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  37. Very interesting and so detailed. Thanks for explaining the concept so well. Brain dump is something we all need to do from time to time, I guess.

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  38. Exceptional and unique topic, managed so well

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  39. Great, great way to declutter the brain with so much of information overload...thank you so much!

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    1. thanks :)
      and pleasure has all been mine with readers like you appreciating the post :)

      Delete
  40. I think we all need to dump at brain, either way we can't dump ppl so flushing out brain helps us insane.
    #millennialscribbler #myfriendalexa

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    1. Oh yes, in case we plan to remain sane, we need to do brain dump regularly :)

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  41. I liked the unique terminology & in this fast pacing world we all should do it.

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    1. Thanks Dikshi for your comments :)
      yes, we definitely need to make use of this tool to get clarity about way forward in our life :)

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  42. Thank you for this wonderful idea. I am going to start doing the brain dump from tomorrow itself. Even thinking about doing it is relaxing my mind :)

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    1. that's sounds so good that you are gonna start using it imemdiately. The thought of decluttering our brain, in itself, is so liberating. I am sure you would find it really useful :)

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  43. I have read so much about brain dump now that I need to try it. Someone named it as the morning writing also that dumps all from our brain early morning only.

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    1. Sure, you must start doing it at the earliest. Whichever way and time suits us, we should just go ahead with it.It, definitely, has a relaxing and calming effect.

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  44. There was a lot if Amazing information in your blog post ;and unknowingly i guess i gave been using this Brain dump techique occasionally; does help sort my thoughts for later

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comments. happy to know that you liked the blog :). There are so many of us who have been using this tool/ technique unknowingly for a long time :)
      the tool definitely helps us in gaining clarity !

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  45. This is a wonderful initiative from your end to put an end to many people’s problem. Interesting read.

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    1. Thanks Sarah. It's heartening to hear such wonderful comments :)

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  46. Brain dump is going in my to do list for october. Loved your bLog .
    #damurureads #myfriendalexa damurucreations.com

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    1. thanks for your kind words...happy to know you have included in your "to-do" list :)

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  47. I am bookmarking this post, it is important to de clutter our brains from time to time.
    #myfriendalexa #princyreads

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    1. definitely, the brain needs to be decluttered on regular basis

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  48. 70% of these are negative and about 90% of these are repetitive..wow..that much of negative thoughts we have. No wonders why they effect us so badly inspite of so many positive things going around us.

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    1. it's never easy to do away with negative thoughts. It requires sustained effort. we need to make it a habit to be positive and keep trying.

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  49. a wonderful and informative post! loved the techniques

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    1. Thanks for your comments and glad that you liked it :)

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  50. That is something called a "Useful" blog. :D I loved it so much. It was insightful, informative, and helpful. I was unaware with the fact that even Goldfish has more attention span that us...



    #MyFriendAlexa #LovelyReads

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging words Samidha. I am so glad to know that you found the blog useful. Keep visiting, keep reading and keep commenting :)

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  51. I sometimes brain dump in my diary and sometimes on humans too.It defnitely helps clear up stuff

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    1. That's great but keen to know how you brain dump on humans :)
      definitely, brain dump clears to provide clarity

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  52. Oh wow! I do this with a to-do list often and well, blogging is kind of a brain dump for me, if that makes sense. Also, if I write for 20-30 mins uninterrupted I think I can fill pages after pages with all my thoughts :P Fab post.

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    1. that's nice to know that you use the brain dump so often. Blogging may not be a brain dump in the exact sense because it's an organised form of thoughts. keep using the tool :)

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  53. I wasn't aware of this concept at all! And it came at pretty much the right time when I am inundated with loads of work and I have idea what to give a priority. It just ends up with me beavering away at work and doing many things but not accomplishing a single task!

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    1. i hope you accomplish every task of yours now with this simple tool :)

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  54. That's really nice to read more about this really informative. Thanks for your tips.

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  55. Quite an interesting post. Definitely need to declutter the mind in today's times

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    1. Thanks :)
      Definitely, brain dump is the need of the hour

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  56. This is really a woderful technique. I often make notes to write my thoughts especially the good ones or ones I may plan to use. but this sounds interesting and helpful

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    1. Brain Dump definitely is interesting and useful and helps us be calm and relaxed in this chaotic world :)

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  57. wonderful post.. have already bookmarked it for future reference

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  58. Thanks for sharing this very powerful and practical article..

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  59. This post so deep and everyone should think about it. I would like to add that there are not permanent superstars anymore. People are forgetting and giving attention to celebs like before.

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  60. I think the best read so far. This post had so many eye opening facts .Definitely going to use this tool for sure.Thanks for writing this.

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    1. Thanks for so much for your compliments :)
      Do try it and share how you felt !

      Delete
  61. Such an unique information with great detail and proper explanation. brain dump seems like a great process to declutter our thought process. will surly try this steps, i am sure it will work great. #Surbhireads #Myfriendalexa

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging comments Surbhi :)
      Do try this simple yet highly effective tool and you would feel a positive difference in your life soon, things would seem more under control :)

      Delete
  62. Wow man.... That was such an insightful article and a lot of information worth knowing... Honestly it sounds like an easy process to do but as I think about it, it sounds really helpful..I am used to of listing down all my tasks and prioritizing them..but not everything.. I will definitely try out this brain dump the next time I feel my brain clogged

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    1. Hi Akanksha, thanks for your kind words :)
      It's simple and super easy to do and i think you already have been doing it in some form or the other, so it should be a cakewalk for you. Do try out and share how you felt using this technique/ tool !

      Delete
  63. Brain dump is a new concept for me but I find it relatable. Is it that easy to declutter brain?
    #MyFriendAlexa
    #AditiReads


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    1. Hi Aditi, Brain Dump is the beginning and it takes practice. With a bit of discipline, it could really work wonders for us

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  64. This is really one of the best read ...I found so relatable !!

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    1. Hi Ruchi, thank you so much for your kind words :)
      I am so glad you liked the post !

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  65. That's a very insightful post. Decluttering is so much important, not just work desk but your brain too. Thanks for sharing this.#MyFriendAlexa #CloudandSunshineReads

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    1. Thanks Sweta for words of appreciation :)
      you got it right, mind decluttering is as important as desk decluttering !

      Delete
  66. Manisha - Such a relevant post for me, if I implement it I am sure it will give me a lot of space for new thoughts. Will try and follow this.

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    1. Thanks for the endorsement. I am definitely sure that this tool will help you address your thoughts appropriately :)

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  67. This seems doable. A written version of venting, perhaps? I've tried doing that in journals, but always missed the point of 'letting go completely'. I guess that is key. Thank you for this post :)

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    1. nice..i think if it serves you well as a venting option, please use it that way :)
      The sole idea is to start using the tool and feel relaxed by decluttering your mind !

      Delete
  68. Thanks .This is something new for me .

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  69. Such an interesting topic. We really need to declutter our mind this way, in every few days.

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    1. oh yes, the mind needs be cleansed regularly to be ready for the new set of challenges :)

      Delete
  70. Oh yes! I so going to do this! Laying down a to-do list still needs a lot of thinking. Brain dump however looks like there is no thinking involved. Just dump everything and pick up the things which are important and prioritize! Very nice. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. you nailed it sushmita :)
      without a bother, we could let our guard off and put/ place everything out of our mind !

      Delete
  71. it's really a short span of time, actually it is a troubling situation as well. imagine how a brain expert can stimulate and play with distorted minds, he just need 8 secs !

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    1. Well, maybe that's the downside of too much technology in our lives !

      Delete
  72. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  73. Loved your post! Writing in diaries/journals are a great way to vent out what you cannot actually tell people in person. ~Anwesha

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    1. Thanks Anwesha for your comment :)
      Well, journals have multiple uses and each one could use it for so many different reasons. Who can forget the book, "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank ! I am happy to know that you have worked out your own way to utilise the journal/ diary :)

      Delete
  74. Your idea about the post and way of representation is very impressive :)

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  75. i really need a brain dump to get rid of unnecessary thoughts. That’s an intriguing read, Loved the post and your unique writing style.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your kind words :)
      I am glad you liked the article.
      Use brain dump as and when you feel the need. Its an anytime, anywhere, anything tool !

      Delete
  76. This is great! We all need it, just never knew how to execute this. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Ruchira :)
      I am glad you found the post useful !

      Delete