Trying to organize your thoughts when you get so many all at once can be overwhelming and stressful.
How do you know where and how to get started? Start with building a website? An email list? Which comes first? What about social media channels? How do you build them all at the same time?
If you're working from home, then you've probably had more than several occasions in which you felt completely overwhelmed with your to-do list. That's if you can even organize your thoughts enough to get your to-do list put together.
There is nothing more defeating than having a great idea that gets squashed because you can't figure out how to get started.
And then, if you do find a good place to get started, thirty new thoughts pop into your head. Before you build an email list, you need a service provider, and a logo, and a signup form. What about a lead magnet? What do you need to build that?
Breathe. Relax. The answer is easier than you might think.
It's called a brain dump — I know. It's kind of a weird, unorganized method of cleaning up your to-do list, right? But what better way to organize your thoughts than by figuring out what they all are?
How to Organize your Thoughts with a Brain Dump
Here's how it works.
First, grab your favorite notebook and pen. Or, if you prefer to go the digital route, open up your favorite note-taking app.
Then, literally dump every thought in your brain into it. As fast as you can.
It's not going to be pretty or organized. In fact, it's probably going to be a downright ugly mess. But that's okay – you can always organize it and make it pretty later. Right now we're just trying to get the thoughts out of your head and in writing so you can go over them.
Don't stop to try to think or organize your thoughts, just write as they come to you. This may mean that you'll be going back and forth on them a lot, our brains tend to work like that most of the time.
Second, once you have all your thoughts in writing, now it's time to get them organized. You can start by categorizing your thoughts and organizing them into lists. The categories you choose are going to be completely up to you, just based on how you like to work and the types of categories you want to have. Perhaps you want to organize these thoughts by parts of your life? Home, work, children, school, etc. Or maybe you want to organize them by dependency or urgency. Or perhaps you prefer to build several lists with several categories and cross-reference them all (I may have done this last one a few times…)
As you move your thoughts from the brain dump into your lists, you should start to see it all come together a bit more clearly for you. Writing it down and physically organizing your thoughts also gives you the added benefit of helping your mind place those thoughts into a more manageable sequence, so you won't feel the same overwhelm anymore as you try to take on the world.
Finally, once you have your thoughts completely organized and in your lists, you can get to work. Start drawing up your plans for how you want to take on this list. Start setting up your deadlines, your strategies, and gathering the tools you need to conquer these thoughts and put them into action. And what's more, you'll be able to face that to-do list with more clarity and direction than you had before!
The brain dump is such a powerful organization tool, it's one of the first things I teach my clients to do when it comes to planing and outlining their next book.
Did you enjoy this article? Here are some more posts on writing a nonfiction book you may like:
- Write My Nonfiction Book (The Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing)
- How will you Know if your Nonfiction Book is Successful?
- 3 Things to Ask Yourself Before you Start Writing your Nonfiction Book
- How to Define your Target Reader (and why you need to)
- How to Format your Book for Kindle with Microsoft Word