Combating mental overwhelm

Doing a brain dump is helpful for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It shifts your mindset from “don’t know what to do” to “this is what I know”. When all your thoughts are on paper, you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

You can schedule a brain dump once a week, or use it as an emergency tool when you hit mental overwhelm.

Write anywhere you please, whether it’s on your phone or a blank piece of paper. I write in a password-protected document on OneNote. I can write without hesitation when I know no one can access it but me.

Set a timer and write for at least five minutes. Use point form or longhand, whichever flows easier. Setting a timer gets you started, but feel free to write for as long as you like. The point is to write down every single thing that’s on your mind.

Take a step back and process your brain dump. View every problem as an individual issue, separate from the others. Tackling each problem one by one will help your situation seem manageable.

  • What is most urgent? What problems need to be solved before you can proceed with others? Brainstorm some solutions.
  • Are you missing some information? Make a list of things to research.
  • What can you work on right now? If it’s fast and easy to accomplish, do them first.

Even if you don’t come to an immediate solution, this simple exercise can trigger ideas that may help you get there.