I look forward to my Friday wind-down time. This is usually spent either travelling back from a client site or, if I'm working from home, stretched out on the sofa carrying out my weekly review.
Why do I look forward to this so much?
I love this time because part of my weekly review involves a scheduled brain dump - thirty or so minutes that are spent simply emptying my head of all thoughts and feelings.
I open up Day One on one of my devices (often this is the iPad as it's great for this scenario) and create an entry within my Inspiration journal (with a tag named Brain Dump) and just...write.
What do I put in there?
Anything and everything that comes into my head.
It could be thoughts about my day at work, worries about the weekend, reminiscing about conversations I've had that are, somehow, still playing on my mind. Maybe there is something you need to research in readiness for next week, or you've had an idea for a project you want to work on but seems ridiculous at this moment.
Any of these things can lead to inspiration and forewarn you of situations that are not as they should be at this moment.
Once everything has been extracted from your grey matter and displayed in front of you, magic can happen.
- You can review what you've written and make decisions about how/if to progress them. Is there a problem that needs to be resolved? Create a project in your task-manager of choice and work out what the very next action is that needs to be completed to edge you closer to resolving. This process alone lifts the pressure from yourself and allows you to wrestle control of the situation from your sub-conscious. Let's face it, your subconscious would have been happy to keep hold of that negative thought and let it pick away at you, slowly, over time, driving you nuts! Not anymore - take control.
- You can revel in the glory and take the time to feel good about things. That's right - we're allowed to do that sometimes! If you have achieved something great or were thinking about a special time you had with your family when you performed your brain dump, take the time to re-visit this thought and think about what it means to you. This could be the most productive thing you do all week as there is no greater motivator than positive thoughts.
- You have freed up your brain to have more ideas. I've lost count of a number of times I've created a project after a brain-dump and, as I'm working out the actions required to meet my objective, other ideas find their way into my mind and start knocking at the door, desperate to be let out. This often happens during the brain dump process itself. Creativity begets creativity.
If you schedule a brain-dump at least once a week, you open yourself up to a lot of possibilities for self-improvement and focus. How long it takes is up to you. Sometimes, I'm done after fifteen minutes. Other times, I'm still there after two hours, ideas pouring out.
Give it a try - let me know how you get on.