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Three Step to being more productive - Part II

I hope you had a chance to create your “Brain Dump” list which I talked about in my previous post.  As I mentioned, this part is key not only  to getting you organized, but key to determining what’s important to you.

If you had trouble creating the “Brain Dump” list I talked about in the previous post, ask yourself this question – What keeps you up at night? What are the thoughts that keep recurring as you try to fall asleep at night?  These thoughts are important.  You may not know why now but be sure to include those in your “Brain Dump” list.

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Okay, so let’s move on to the next steps.  This is the harder part.  Here is where we start to sort, and maybe try and make some sense of some of the items in your “Brain Dump” list. 

Let’s get started:

1.       Review your “Brain Dump” in its entirety.  Go over it a couple of times. Are there some items that really speak to you? Some that you feel you can work with right now?  Note that not everything may seem to make sense right now or seem important now.  If it doesn’t speak to you now, don’t worry, it may have value to you in the future.  Highlight those items that speak to you.

2.       Now go through your “Brain Dump” items and try and sort them by main categories.  I do a quick first pass by just putting a letter next to the item that defines its category.  For example, F = Financial, B =Business, H =Home etc.  Do this for all items not just those which you highlighted.

3.       You may need to go over your list a few times to see the commonalities.  Maybe some items are not in any particular category that you can name right now – put an “O” next to those for “Other” for now. Don’t get hung up on it.

4.       Now, still using your Big Picture Journal (I covered the three journals used in the previous post here), use the main categories to create individual sections in your Big Picture Journal.  (I use sticky tabs like these to quickly “create” individual sections in my journal.) Leave yourself several pages in each section so you have room to develop the idea later.

5.        Now go to your main list (Brain Dump List) and rewrite each of the items into that category section in your journal.  Cross them off the main Brain Dump list as you do this.

6.       Some of the items you listed may not “fit” into any of the main categories you created right now – that’s okay, leave them in the “main” section for now without transferring them over.  These are often the interesting ones, but more on that later.

7.       Sorting these into main sections allows you to start seeing each of the things you want to accomplish more clearly.  In addition to clearing your mind of the clutter, it also will help you to prioritize which activities are most important to you now. For example, you may have listed many things in your House category, but with an overview picture now, you may see that the things that you have listed in your “Creative” or “Work” category are really more pressing or important in your life right now.

8.       With all of this now listed, you are ready to move to the next step, where we move these items to actionable items and create an entirely separate journal for those areas/categories that you really want to focus on now in your life.

But, you’ll have to wait for the next post where I will cover getting all of this into concrete actions and goals for yourself.

As in my previous post, I want to leave you with some resources for all 3 of the journals you may want to work in.

               Beautiful journals that inspire me (click on this link)

               Another idea if you like more structure (I’ve used these and love them)

I’d love to hear from you if you are trying out my method or if you have gotten as far as the Brain Dump method.  Let me know how this is working and if you have any questions on how to implement this amazing system.


cathy bluteauComment