Do a braindump every night

When I was managing a bundle of client projects and working hard to keep my eye on some internal projects I wanted to participate in, I found it difficult to disconnect from my work at the end of the day.

Thoughts would race through my head as I exercised, as I made dinner, as I laid down to bed. “Tomorrow I need to talk to so and so. I need to remember to follow up on this or that. I need to propose this idea. And so on and so on.”

All you need is some scrap paper
All you need is some scrap paper

Somewhere in the mix of that period, I started doing something I call a braindump at the end of each day. Once I wrap up my work, I take out a piece of paper and I make a list of outstanding tasks and thoughts. Many of them are things I didn’t finish that day. Some are things that I want to make sure I start in the next few. Some are big projects, some are¬†small reminders like thanking someone or taking a walk at lunch the next day.

With that list made, I turn it over and place it on my keyboard for the next morning.

What I found is that my mind would let go of those thoughts. They were on the paper, waiting for me. Sure, my brain would still churn some of these tasks in the background, but I felt like they cropped up in my active thought processes a lot less, especially as I was going to sleep.

Give it a try and see if it helps you let go of the day and recharge for the next one.

Add some checkboxes for extra points (they’re so cathartic to check off) :)