How I Use My Brain Dump Journal

Brain Dump Journal

In 2015 I am trying to take Action in my life. It sounds cheesy, but it’s really working well for me, so cheesy is ok! And one of the things I’m taking action on is getting more organized in all aspects of my life. In 2014 I added a planner (the Erin Condren Life Planner) to my life, and that helped me at least appear organized to everyone outside my home! And mid-December I added Mary Organizes Home Management Binder to my life, and that was a baby step in the right direction. But I needed more. 

When I’m out and about? I’m too paranoid about my beautiful planner to just jot random notes down. (I know, insane.) So last June I started carrying a spare notebook to take notes in, doodle when I’m bored and keep a running shopping list. And it’s worked wonderfully for me! So much so that it’s not only become a regular tool in my life? It’s also rubbed off on a few of my friends! 

Shopping List

I absolutely love this tool! I have a running shopping list, so as I think of something I need? It goes on the list, and then every time I’m at the store, I have the notebook out and I reference my list as I go. But it’s so much more than that. The quote above was jotted down while watching Girl Meets World with my little one, I loved it, so I wrote it down and then doodled a bit. 

Every Sunday when I sit down to plan my week? I pull out my planner, my markers and my brain dump journal. I start with a list. I just sit for 30 minutes, with no background noise, and I dump everything in my mind out on paper. This past week? It had everything from my bathroom remodel project, blog post ideas, my upcoming luncheon (I need to find purple leggings) and next summers Relay For Life, as well as a few recipes I wanted to try! 

This is incredibly helpful for setting goals, daily to-do’s and meal planning! (Which I’m trying to get better at!) 

Brain Dump Check List

The best part? This journal is CHEAP! I totally covet the Moleskine Evernote Journal , but that’s not in my budget anytime soon! I just got a Mead Notebook for $.99 on sale at Target! (I like cheap.) But any notebook will do – I just love the “pocket size” because it slips easily in my purse. 

Don’t spend too much, because if you’re anything like me? This will get beat up pretty good! I spill coffee on it, I have friends write recipes in it, I toss it on my desk at work and leave it for hours on end while I pile stuff on top of it. It’s just non-stop abuse, and so this cheap little notebook with a thick cover works well! 

Do you have a Brain Dump Journal? (Or something similar?) What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever written in it? (For me it’s my friend’s salad dressing recipe that’s Paleo Friendly – you can see a small glimpse of it in the above picture!) 

I’m a Nebraska girl transplanted to Southern Colorado! I’m a homeschooling, coffee loving, book reading, hockey mom with a passion for music, blogging and serving others! I’m glad you’ve joined me in my little corner of the web!

Comments 14

  • I also am ‘too paranoid’ about my beautiful planner. It’s NOT insane. I know that’s why we have it, to write all the brain dump stuff in and keep up with ourselves, but there’s just something about it being organized that helps keep US organized. So, a Brain Dump journal is also something I do, and to honestly see someone else doing it? Makes me feel….well…not insane. hehe.

    SO glad you posted this!! I have a background in graphic design and discbound my own planner, constantly re-creating it on top of the ‘too paranoid’ trauma…but this helped. 🙂

  • I keep a number of used envelopes from my mail under my laptop computer. Whenever an idea surfaces or I remember that I need to buy something, I write it down. I refer often to these “pages” and when it appears I’ve completed all of the required items, I can safely discard it.

  • This sounds great…but I do have a question. So do you still use your “expensive” planner and if so how? Every time I try a “brain dump” type journal I find I just stop using the more elaborate one.

    And btw…I know just what you mean when you say you don’t want to mess up the fancy one. Strange but true.

  • Without realizing it I also have the same book. I use my Filofax in exactly the same way. It is pocket size and with detachable paper I can add more paper in the future too. Everyone writes in mine. People write directions to their homes, recipes, recommendations to concerts…everything.

    Thank you for posting this and highlighting to me that I have the same already. Your journal looks beautiful and precious.

  • Perfect, perfect, perfect. I love this idea. It’s kind of what I do but not all in one place. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • I started doing this same thing this year, too! I found a great planner, but I still needed something for all of my “mind messes” to spill out on. I keep lists of goals and decisions, drawings, ideas for things I want to make, plans for the future home my husband and I want to build, workouts . . . and sometimes, when I’m extremely stressed out, I write down a list of every. Single. Thing. That comes to my mind, whether it’s “so so tired” , “wish I knew how to do a fishtail braid”, or “need to fold laundry” . . . I write EVERYTHING down and it always makes me feel so much better! Glad to know someone else has a Dump Journal, too!

  • I’m going to rummage through my house and look for a spare notebook. This is such a great idea!
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  • I have a brain dump journal, but I like it pretty and it lasts me a while even though it has everything from sketches to to-do lists to snippets of books I loved, scenes to need to write, songs I want to buy, books I want to look for… At first I was a little horrified at how beat-up my little beauty was getting, but then it started to look more like an ancient manuscript than it had before and Paperblanks knows how to make them sturdy with good, thick paper that handles watercolors and markers without bleedthrough.
    My old and new brain dumps:

  • This is a good post. My bullet journal notebook progressed from cheap, to Moleskine, to Leuchtterm 1917 (I treated myself). This live on my home or work desk and in my Mil-Tec backpack in between. I couldn’t function decently without either.
    But for random thoughts and look-up-later scribbles, I always have a 3×5″ Calepino (French) No.2 pocket notebook in whichever jacket I’m wearing that day. This is so handy. I’m amazed that many people don’t realise how often we need to simply and quickly take a note; without finding your phone, unlocking, finding your notes icon, creating a new note, then slowly thumb type something that you’ll forget as soon and you save it to the growing digital pile.
    It’s true, you’ll remember ore by writing down.

  • I carry a cute little hello kitty notepad and have with me since high school in 1998 , wouldn’t leave home without some sort of “brain fump” journal! Total must have along with the other girly essentials we all know so well we try and squeeze into our already cramped purses. But ladies this is one item you don’t want to skip on. For piece of minds sake…it’s worth the purse space.

  • Nice but I’m a difficult person. I like to write using pretty pens and pretty notebooks. Its not so much about price but beautiful stationary give me some sort of motivations….ahahaha. I wish I can be like you…going minimalist but still productive! Good blog post.

  • Love your whole theory of the “BRAIN DUMP” journal!!!! I am starting tomorrow – forget waiting until 2017. So glad I found you ♡♡♡

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