What’s a Brain Dump? Everything You Need To Know

Do you have so many ideas, to-do lists, worries, and random thoughts flying through your head that it’s hard to keep track of them all? When your mind is constantly in overdrive, it can cause even more stress on top of an already busy life. 

So what can you do when you’re feeling frazzled and can’t seem to hold one thought in your head long enough to act on it? You brain dump! 

What Is A Brain Dump?

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A brain dump is a technique that allows us to declutter our minds. Just like you dump all your grocery shopping on the kitchen table or counter before you organize it, when you do a brain dump, you dump all your thoughts on a piece of paper. It helps when you have too many thoughts and too little space in your mind to contain them.

Our brains aren’t wired to contain multiple threads of information for long periods. So when we have a lot of things on our mind and no outlet to project it on, it can be a struggle to keep up with it all. 

The next time you find yourself overwhelmed with the thoughts in your head, take a pen and paper or open an app on your phone or laptop to brain dump.

Brain dump goes by a lot of names. It’s the same concept, just with different names. So, if you’re someone who doesn’t like using the phrase “brain dump,” you can use:

  • Creative muse
  • Idea box
  • Random thoughts
  • Wonderings
  • Musings
  • All the things in my head
  • Stream of consciousness

These are just a few ideas, and you can give it whatever name you see fit. The process is unique to you; shouldn’t the name be unique, too?

Why Brain Dump

Brain dumping may seem like a burden in itself. After all, you’re adding another item to your already crowded mind. How is that going to help?

Although it may feel overwhelming when you start brain dumping, once you start putting it to work, the results are worth it! When you have a lot of things on your mind and you’re switching from one tab to the next tab, it doesn’t really allow you to focus on getting things done. 

Brain dumping allows us to remove all the extra thoughts from our brains by penning them down. This clearing out of thoughts helps us live more freely, without being burdened by an overloaded mind.

And once you put things down, you are better able to organize them, get rid of the extras, and work toward bringing your ideas to life and accomplishing your goals. 

How Does It Help?

Brain dumping doesn’t just help you get information out of your head to make room for a healthy, clearer thought process; it also makes your ideas and thoughts more tangible and organizable. It gives you the freedom to organize your thoughts and be your most productive self. 

A brain dump is a mindful experience, which means it also clears the stress and anxiety that’s been seeping into your everyday life. You are now free to work on your goals and ideas instead of worrying about separating them from all the other unwanted thoughts in your head. 

When Should You Do A Brain Dump?

This part of the process of brain dumping is unique to everybody. Instead of sticking to a standard routine, it is ideal if you do a brain dump every time you’re stressed or overwhelmed. 

If you find yourself losing sleep over the many ideas in your head, declutter them right before you sleep. With no cogs and wheels to turn, your brain will have no option but to relax. 

What Kinds Of Things Do You Write?

So you want to brain dump and have a lot of ideas and thoughts running around in your head, but you don’t know how to go about the process. What kinds of things do you write about? Do you stick to one topic? Is there a structure to follow?

The beauty of brain dumping is that it has no boundaries, no set criteria you need to follow. You have something in your mind; you write it down. It’s as simple as that.

Do you have a coworker that you butt heads with every time a project requires teamwork? Or have you scheduled a trip and need to work out an itinerary? Or do you have goals that need your attention? Write it down. Don’t limit yourself.

Questions To Get You Started

I know it can be overwhelming to start a new journey, especially when you’re staring at a blank sheet of paper. Here are some brain dumping prompts that can help you start your mental declutter practice:

  • What’s worrying you?
  • Do you have any ideas that don’t need immediate action?
  • What are you losing sleep over?
  • Is there a task you want to focus on but don’t know how to go about it?
  • Is your everyday routine not working out for you?
  • Have you accomplished something that you now can’t get out of your head, causing your brain to lag?
  • Do you have goals you want to work on?

What Do You Do After The Brain Dump?

Relaxing your mind after the brain dump may not be easy. You now have thoughts scattered all over the pages of your journal. How are you supposed to make sense of it?

Here’s what you can do to make this brain dump more productive.


After you jot your ideas down, sleep on it. Don’t start eliminating tasks and ideas as soon as you write them. When you find extra time on your hand, open your journal and organize your thoughts according to their priority. Then, proceed to slot them into your schedule.

For example, tasks like emailing a friend or ordering things for a cookout don’t require too much attention and focus, but the items in your journal that require long-term planning to come into effect should be allotted specific timeframes on a daily, bi-weekly, or weekly basis. 

Eliminate/Cancel Tasks

Your brain is not selective about what information it holds. It’s a hoarder. This means you have a lot of unnecessary information lying around in your head. 

Be selective with what you give your attention to. If it’s holding you back or creating issues in your life, bid that list item goodbye.

Best Journals And Pens For Your Brain Dump

Want to start your brain-dumping journey? Here is a list of supplies that can get you excited about the task:

A Lined Journal

The easiest way to get started is to just grab a lined notebook with plenty of space to make lists, scribble and rearrange your thoughts. Find one that fits your style, whether it has a cheery cover that makes you smile or a simple outside that feels sleek and professional.

Floral notebook to use for brain dump
Ruled spiral notebook

A Year Of Zen

This is a beautifully designed journal that is a treasure trove of resources to help deepen your connection to all that matters in life. It gives you the freedom to be true to yourself and express your true nature uninhibited.

A Year Of Zen: A 52-Week Guided Journal is a bestseller, and for good reason! It allows you to embark on a journey of mindfulness and brain dumping with thought-provoking prompts to guide you through the process.

Year of Zen 52-week journal
Year of Zen

Bloom Daily Planners 

Bloom Daily Planners is a tear-off planning system. Each notepad has 80 tear-off sheets, and each sheet has daily planning sections that include today’s date, daily gratitude, important times, meal and water tracking, exercise and self-care, top priorities, a to-do list with space for 15 items, and a notes and ideas section. 

Every sheet is an all-encompassing list that empowers you to make the most of your day and be your best productive self. 

Bloom planner notepad to organize thoughts
Bloom notepad

iBayam Journal Planner Pens

iBayam Journal Planner Pens are a set of 18 fine point marker pens. The fine tips make it a great choice for all things journaling. You can draw lines, do detailed work, sketch, create intricate patterns, and level up your brain dump experience.

I own these and absolutely love them!

iBayam Journal pens for best brain dump experience
Journal pens

Writech Liquid Ink Rollerball Pens

Want to add flair to your handwriting? Check out Writech Liquid Ink Rollerball Pens. These quick-dry, no-bleed pens come in a set of 8 and can be used for journaling, sketching, as well as taking notes. 

They come with a visible ink supply through the transparent pen case. Rest assured, your pens won’t run dry in the middle of your journaling experience.

Wretch Rollerball pens for writing down thoughts during a brain dump
Rollerball pens

Get To It! 

The next time you feel overwhelmed, whip out your journal and a pen and dump all your thoughts. Now that you know all you need to know about brain dumping, you can experiment with different methods to clear your headspace and be more productive.

Another great thing to try out is bullet journaling! I have a full post all about bullet journaling weekly spread ideas here!

About Jen

Jen is a mom of 3 who loves frozen cookie dough, plants and a generous pour of creamer in her coffee. Her biggest joy is helping others find joy in their life, style and home through tips, tutorials and encouragement. She also runs 2 additional blogs. Feel free to send Jen a message or join the fun on Instagram!

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Feeling overwhelmed? Do a brain dump!
Feeling overwhelmed? Do a brain dump!