A Teachers Brain Dump
Hey there. It's Mark from @Menwhobullet
As an avid bullet journaler, and someone that uses their journal a lot for work, I love to find new ways for others to use their journal to help them organize their everyday life at work. My wife, who is a teacher, uses a teacher planner to organize what she is doing in her classroom.
One thing that her current planner doesn't offer is a flexible space to make room for additional ways to stay organized. I wanted to share one tactic that anyone, especially teachers, can use to organize all the ideas and thoughts you might have stored away in your head - A Brain Dump page.
1 - A journal (The B5 Archer & Olive work really well)
2 - Pen or Pencil
3 - Highlighters (Optional)
Faber-Castell Textliners used in this spread
Think about all of the things that you have bouncing around in your head from work. Email Josh’s mom, prepare for STEAM night, don’t forget to print out next week's sub-plans… oh yeah, don’t forget you said you were going to present at the next staff meeting about that conference you just went to. If you are always on the go, or teaching back-to-back classes, you don’t always have the time to jot down that one note in your planner or bullet journal. To avoid forgetting it, you pile it into your head to try and remember later. Having too much on your mind can cause unnecessary amounts of stress and anxiety in your daily life. I've found that one of the best ways to untangle your mind is a good old fashion brain dump.
Merriam-Webster defines a brain dump as “the act or an instance of comprehensively and uncritically expressing and recording one's thoughts and ideas (as on a particular topic)”. Self-care doesn’t always need to come in the form of a bath bomb filled bathtub or a Venti Double Chocolate Chip Frapp. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great way to spend some "me time", but having some quiet time alone, just you and your journal, can be just as therapeutic. So let’s set up a page in your planner or bullet journal to help you declutter, destress, and set yourself up for success.
Your brain dump page doesn’t need to be overly thought out. It could be as simple as a title on a blank page or if you want, add a little doodle and some color to get yourself in the mood.
When brain dumping, I like to use 2 different kinds of identifiers.
• A bullet for tasks and todo's
– A dash for notes
These indicators are the same used in The Bullet Journal System and rapid logging. I like to use these two identifiers to keep the brain dump simple. Remember, we are trying to make this easy to start. We can always make it fancier later on.
Now, to begin, all you need is to start dumping.
• Print 12/7 Sub plans
– US history chapter on Pearl Harbor
• Prep powerpoint for 11/29 Staff Meeting
– Reporting on fall testing results
• Ideas on in class brain breaks
As your ideas and thoughts flow, you should hopefully start to feel a little less stressed. Take the time to process and think through all that is on your mind. While there might be many things you have to do, getting it all out on paper lets you see it all together.
Once you are done… take a breath. It can be a mental exercise to rapid log and get it all out. It might actually surprise you how much stuff comes out of your brain. From there, you can take on your list in many different ways. Sometimes I like to take a few highlighters and reread back through my list, color coding as I go along.
Because a brain dump is a free for all, I find that I need to break things down between work and at home. As a teacher, maybe it’s by class or students and administrative notes and tasks. I have also done a similar activity using colored post-it notes to organize these ideas.
As you go through, remember that we are not aiming for pretty at this point. We are still working with the raw information.
Once you have your thoughts, notes, tasks, and events organized into like groups, then you can start breaking it down into your planner. Reading and rereading your notes is also a really great way to commit these to memory. If you have a separate planner for work and home, take on each separately. If you keep it all in one, take it one item at a time and be thoughtful about where your tasks and notes are going. Is it an idea or task that isn’t a priority? Place it in your future log. Is this something that needs to happen this week? Get that bad boy into your next weekly spread.
Now that you have poured everything out onto paper, organized all the like ideas, and placed them in their planner homes, you are ready to start tackling them!