Overcoming the Stress of Overwhelm: How and Why to Brain Dump

I'm back for #IBOT

Hello! I've been a little MIA over the last couple of weeks, sadly not because I've been lying on a banana lounge with a cocktail and a good book but because I'm juggling (approximately) ONE MILLION  projects and try as I might - and I'm trying, just ask my husband - I cannot keep all the balls in the air.

If you're a high N-Ach (psychology-speak for high Need for Achievement) you are no doubt familiar with the unrelenting need to set yourself bigger and bigger goals, to start new projects, to take on challenging roles and to want to control all of the things until you find yourself standing in your kitchen unable to figure out what and how to eat because you've fried your brain.   That's me right now.

Want to know the difference between perfectionism and high need for achievement? Read this.

The biggest challenge when you're experiencing high N-Ach overwhelm - any overwhelm really - is knowing how to be less overwhelmed. Because you can't think straight. Because you've fried your brain. Overwhelm.

Overcoming the Stress of Overwhelm. How and Why to Brain Dump. Potential Psychology.

Thankfully I have a lovely business coach who reminds me to make a coffee, hide in my spare room with a notebook and pen and brain dump.  I need the reminder because even though I know that brain dumping works I has the fried brain and can't think clearly enough to eat, let alone remember what I need to do and then take action.  This is the wonderful power of a coach.  She can see clearly and prod you the right direction when your ability to navigate daily life has deserted you.

So I'm off to do as she says and dump the many, muddled ideas, thoughts, plans, priorities, worries and obligations out of my head and on to paper in order to clear at least enough brain space for eating, and hopefully more.  Before I go I will leave you with three reasons why brain dumping is worthwhile.

1. Your brain gets tired and less productive when it's trying to remember everything you need to do.  Mental lists require brain power that physical lists do not.  Dump it out and make space for more important stuff like problem solving and idea generation.

2. Once the data is out of your head and visible, you can begin to organise it.  If your head is spinning with a long and chaotic mental list there is no way it can calmly assess each item, prioritise and then take action.  Those thoughts will just keep swimming around in there, bumping into one another and increasing your blood pressure. Write the list, read it, assess it, prioritise, make sublists, take action, relax.

3. When you write things down you offload emotion along with thoughts and ideas. The stress that comes with too many competing priorities ebbs away as your head empties and your action plan becomes clearer. It makes you feel as well as think better.

Do you brain dump regularly? Who reminds you to get back to basics when you're freaking out? And how many things are on your list?