how to do a weekly brain dump and plan your week accordingly, journaling, organize your life and family

How to keep your sanity and still get all the things done

Do you find yourself with an ever-increasing to-do list and not enough time to get it all done? Why are we so busy running around being busy? How can we save our sanity and still get everything done without throwing our hands up in despair?

Thanks to Flylady I have spent the last few years creating and putting into place many routines that help me to tackle #allthethings that need be done to keep this ship running smoothly. This whole “adulting” thing didn’t come with a manual. Thanks to the dear advice from my favorite fly-fisher-woman from North Carolina I have gleaned a few tips on how to maintain my sanity while attempting life.

Having routines is just one of those things I have gleaned from FlyLady; you can read about my morning and evening routines here. Another one of the many routines that I have created to help me keep my sanity is my Sunday afternoon weekly planning routine. This is a mini-planning session that helps me to create a game plan on just how I am going to attack the following 7 days.

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Brain Dump

Using my trusty spiral notebook and a simple planning page I can map out just what needs to be done so that I don’t end up back at square one next weekend wondering what happened with our time. First, I settle in with a hot cup of coffee and spend some time in reflection; just thinking back to the previous week and evaluating how it went. I only spend about 5 minutes here, but I ask myself these three questions:

  1. What went well this past week?
  2. What didn’t go so great this week
  3. What items are still on my to-do list that didn’t happen last week?

Then I spend another 10 minutes or so emptying out my brain, in a mini brain dump, if you will. To read all about doing a full-on brain dump I suggest you read Getting Things Done by David Allen. But for this small weekly brain dump, we are just listing out all the nagging thoughts that are cluttering up our brains and wearing us out before we even start our to-do list. David Allens says:

“Your mind is for having ideas,

not holding them.” 

I just love how this reminds us to get all our great ideas out of our heads and out onto paper otherwise I will spend way too much of our precious little brain power just trying to remember all the things and won’t be able to really delve into the true powers of our craniums.

weekly plan ideas for real life, how to do a weekly brain dump, journaling, organize your family, use a bullet journal, notebook, or digital planner to keep your sanity and get it all done
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Once we have everything written down it is a little bit easier to tackle our many nagging to-dos with a little bit of clarity and less anxiety. For me, when I look at a concrete list – rather than having everything running around in my jumbled brain – then it doesn’t look so bad. There are many different productivity experts out there that suggest many different ideas, but the best one is the one that works for you and your preferences.

Plan your week and work your Plan

One option is to mark each item with A, B, and C based on their priority levels. Or place them into their own categories on a grid such as one Stephen Covey used. I like to look ahead at my calendar and see which days still have some space in them and simply assign a time during the week that I am going to tackle my many projects or tasks. But my schedule is ever changing and not really structured so this might not work for you. If you have a set schedule and know that you work every Tuesday through Saturday 10-6, then maybe Monday is your “Get it Done” day instead!

I am not really a type-A analytical person, plus I am in a phase of my life where I need to wait for nap time if I want to be able to focus or make any sort of a phone call that doesn’t end in me sounding like I have turrets yelling at my kid in the background. So for me, I don’t put each individual item into a time slot on my calendar, I will instead wait for a quiet moment and then look at my list and pick one item that I can get done in the amount of time I have that day.

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Pick your One Thing

I have recently read “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan and really liked their idea of picking one thing that absolutely must get done then focusing on that one thing until it is done. So for me, I might put a star next to the one item that I really want to make sure gets done that week even if nothing else happens. Because sometimes, life, right?

Once you have these items scheduled on your calendar it is more of a matter of keeping that appointment with yourself. I know for me, this can be very hard to do if I have an appointment with someone else then I go out of my way to make sure I keep it. However, for some reason, I let myself off the hook very easily and have a hard time following through with my best-laid plans. Once I find a way to make myself do what I set out to do and not goof off on my phone then I will let you know in another blog post! In the meantime, if you have a special trick for getting “all the things” done, let us know in the comments.

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