The Art of the Brain Dump

Do you have trouble sleeping? Is there a constant to do list running in your head? Do you always think you’re about to forget something? Y’all, this is my life. Between work, kid, my side business, church involvement, and blogging I have always felt like my to do list wasn’t complete or something was going undone.

Well, y’all, I have the answer! Ok, I have MY answer and maybe this will work for you too …

A Nightly Brain Dump

In the middle of searching for ways to reign my house and routine, I read Emily Ley’s “A Simplified Life.” This book was amazing. It was all the best parts of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” plus an overall approach to making the home a warm and hospitable place. Working to undue not only the physical clutter through a full house cleanse, but also wiping out electronic clutter and clutter in habits and dinner time and family routine and all of life.

The suggestion that resonated with me the most was the nightly brain dump. Essentially Emily suggests taking a few minutes every night before bed, no phone or iPad in sight, and write down … like with a pen and paper, not an iPhone note … everything in your head. All of it. What you need to get done, what you want to look into, things looming, reminders for upcoming school events, ALL OF IT. No order, not tidy, no categories … just down on paper.

This has changed my LIFE!

I only do this Sunday night through Thursday night. I keep a spiral bound notebook on my bedside table with a pen. Before my self defined bedtime of 11pm, I get ready for bed and sit and dump. It can look like detailed to do’s or just a general note “taxes.” Then the next morning after coffee and before my son wakes up (if I’m lucky and all goes according to plan), I take that brain dump and make a list for work, for family / home, and “extracurriculars.” Not everything is ever due that day or even that week, but it begins to give order to the chaos in my head that is on a constant low rumble.

The amazing side benefits…

I have slept SO MUCH BETTER. I’m not dreaming about class parties and paying bills anymore! ALSO, it has made my daytimes so much more efficient. I can’t recommend Emily’s book highly enough, or at the very minimum, embracing the nightly brain dump!

Sarah Joy Hays is a native of Louisiana and graduate of LSU! She returned to Baton Rouge in 2015 after 6 years living and working in DC. She is a proud momma to an enthusiastic, red-haired toddler and is navigating all of this as a solo parent; fully relying on group texts with other moms, coffee, and Jesus. Sarah Joy, or SJ, has devoted much of her abundant spare time to the Moms on Campus, South Baton Rouge Presbyterian Church, and her newly founded Foundation that will focus on emergency disaster response. She claims to love to read, journal, and cook; but only manages one of the three out of daily necessity. SJ dreams of having a Target collaboration based on coffee mugs and dry shampoo one day… till then she will enjoy running her bakery CounterspaceBR and growing a consulting business!


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