My GTD Brain Dump

David Allen says his book, Getting Things Done, is all about the art of stress-free productivity.  In it, he shares some great tips and concepts for achieving greater work-life balance.

One thing I read in Getting Things Done, which really struck me, is his concept of the “brain dump.”  Allen says that we shouldn’t be carrying around dozens of things in our brain that we need to do, want to do, wish we would have done, etc.

Instead of cluttering our brain with this stuff, we should write them all down somewhere – on paper, in the computer, wherever – categorize them, and then plan a regular time to review the list and decide what things should be worked on, and when.

I’ve started to do this brain dump over the last two weeks – trying to get stuff out of my head, and onto a spreadsheet.  

I’m also going back over notes I’ve written from conversations I’ve had and events I’ve attended recently, and am writing down all of the to-do’s I generated from those events onto my master brain dump spreadsheet.

I’m assigning each item a category, so I can easily search and sort based on category. That way I can see, and tackle, all items from a given category at once.

It has already been freeing – literally, a load off my mind – to get stuff out of my mind and onto the master brain dump list.

I know the key to success for this whole thing is to plan regular times to review the list, decide what items to tackle and when, and then do it.

What about you?  Do you keep stuff lying around in your head, or do you dump everything into some kind of a master list?

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  1. For implementing GTD you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  2. Hi Dan,

    I like this post alot…I feel like many people have clutter in their minds with all their life problems..This then makes them lose focus and be less productive….People are end up thinking about the past a lot also which adds a lot of weight on the mind….

    Thanks for sharing…


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