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MILLIE HOLLOMAN TALKS BRAIN DUMP

September 16 2010

“In surveying 1,000 middle managers of large companies in the U.S. and U.K., 59% miss important information almost every day because it exists within the company but they cannot find it.”   – Accenture, Wall Street Journal, 5/14/2007

That’s exactly what I’m saying… there is loads of information and answers in my brain and if I didn’t do something about it I’d be so busy trying to think it all over and remember it that I would never execute anything.

Some days I just have to clear the clutter and think a little clearer. Are you with me?

Me? I’m a list girl, I’ve got lists in my journals from years ago. Every morning I make a new list adding anything that wasn’t finished the day before.

I’m also a creative and I’ve constantly got ideas (some good, some bad) fighting for my attention. I’m distracted, I’m creating, I’m dreaming. I know some really great ideas exists up there or some really important tasks but I have a hard time finding them in the mess that ensues.

A solution? Yes! I found one… I lovingly refer to it as my “brain dump”. Here is how it all started!

Years ago I found myself sitting at a conference listening to the speakers who had amazing ideas and thinking to myself of every small tasks I had to accomplish immediately when I got home. I was listening to their big business ideas, I was taking notes but somehow it wasn’t all getting through, it wasn’t sticking. The things they were saying had my gears turning, I was creating more mess for my littered brain to filter but it was on overdrive and feeling like it needed a really long vacation not 100 more “to do’s” rolling around.

On the plane home I decided to try something, to put it all out there. I took out a pen and paper and began writing down everything. Everything from “do laundry” to “book a trip to Tahiti” made the list. No matter how big, no matter how small. If it was a 5 year goal or the next thing I needed to take action on. I wrote throughout the entire 3 hour flight, my pen never left the paper until the wheels on that plane hit the ground. When I walked off that plane I was like a new woman. I no longer had to keep repeating the same information over and over to keep it front and center of my brain. It was on paper and I felt organized like I had a new lease on life.

Sure this all seems simple. But let’s be honest, how often do you really allow yourself to free write everything you think? To sit down in a quiet room and let the ideas flow? It’s liberating!

I know what you are thinking… “now I’ve got a mess to deal with, how will all of this ever get done?” That’s the beauty of it… with a little organization I’ll have you feeling better in no time. Just keep reading!

Now take a new sheet of paper and square off 4 sections. Label each one accordingly.

TO DO
3 MONTHS
1 YEAR
3-5 YEARS

Take your “brain dump” list and choose a category to place each item. The things that need to be done right away will become your daily to do list. The things 3 months out will eventually rotate into your to do’s. Those things 1-5 years out can take a back seat on your thinking over them all the time and they’ll be there whenever you decided to move them up the list.  Now you’ve got a plan for right now, a place to start! A 90 day plan (3 months) and even a one to five year goal sheet! You’ll also feel organization with more time and room to think on what’s important to do now, and more time to execute!

Now I find myself clearing my brain on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. Each time I just pull out the previous record and organize it again!

Just knowing it’s all written down and that I’ll refer back to it often makes me feel 100 times better.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, give it a try for yourself.


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Millie Holloman owns a booming wedding photography business in North Carolina and is the author of the Get It Together Kit for wedding photographers.

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