Hey all! Do you have a brain dump journal??? The first time I heard of this concept, I was floored!
Ever since I can remember, I have had trouble falling asleep at night. For whatever reason, bedtime seems to be the time when my brain decides to go into overdrive. Grocery lists, blog/writing ideas, parenting, and marital issues, ministry ideas, craft and shopping lists, problem-solving, emotional issues, things to pray for– you name it, it pops into my head as soon as I’m settling in for sleep. As you can imagine, this has created quite a problem for me in getting my Zzzzs, so with the help of my Brain Dump Journal, I’ve been able to kick the thoughts out of my head to help me fall asleep sooner.
The more I can “dump’ my thoughts out onto paper, the more my mind rests and I relax to fall asleep. With my journal, I can revisit those thoughts at a more convenient time, NOT at 3 am! I used to have an older version of this journal page, but recently, I’ve updated it to match my planner and home binder. Wanna try it?? See below!
Using Your Brain Dump Journal
Your journal can be something as simple as a lined notebook or store-bought art book. I made my own so that I could be able to draw in as well as write my thoughts down in categories each night. Here’s a look:
I created double-sided pages with colored squares that list these categories:
First Thoughts– I usually record my first initial thoughts here. This is literally just to get the ball rolling to begin “emptying” my thoughts in order to get them out of my head.
Tasks– all the “to-do’s” swimming around in my head.
Well Done!– things I feel I did well that day. THIS IS IMPORTANT in order for me not to feel defeated about my day- I make the commitment to list at least ONE thing that I can go to bed feeling good about.
Mental/worries/annoyances– stuff that’s stressing me or confusing me, annoying me or making me fall into fear.
Social/Relationships– I record relationship issues here, good and bad.
On the back side of the journal sheet I have these categories:
Physically– How I am feeling physically that day: This has been VERY important for me to record. My physical issues have often influenced my overall mood. When I notice a pattern, it is also easier to deal with it.
Feelings– How I am feeling that day. To me, this one is so comical because I can feel every emotion in every day being a stay at home mom, but I try to sum up the totality of my day.
Goals/Do Better– Things I’d like to work on or get better at. I make a commitment to not overdo this section because I am really good at analyzing myself too much and thinking I need to improve in EVERY area every single day. I often pray over this area so that I don’t fall down a very slippery slope of self-criticism.
Spiritually- Things I am struggling with, sensing, seeking God on, hearing God on. Writing these down helps me to focus so that I will pray about them and not just go day-to-day with no real faith action on my part.
Unfinished business/projects- These are the things that are unfinished that I need to get done in order to feel accomplished or settled about. For example, the shoe organization was awfully out of control in our entryway not too long ago and it bugged me every day. It was unfinished business that I needed to resolve in my home. We found a great organizational shelving unit at the local flea market and I was able to organize our shoes in just a couple hours one afternoon. That one thing relieved so much daily stress!
Even though I mostly brain dump at the end of every day, it can also be a great exercise for the beginning of each week or day.
If I feel particularly overwhelmed, I grab a brain dump sheet and sort out my thoughts before beginning any work. Either way, writing out my thoughts has helped me a lot!
Brain dumping is a great way to train your thought life, recognize unhealthy patterns and dump the junk once and for all. If you find that your mind is a jumble of chaos, consider this journaling exercise to help you bring order to your thoughts and increase productivity by helping you to focus on what is most important.
Download your free journal sheets below (don’t forget to print them double-sided to save on paper)