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  • Writer's pictureMaria Stefanidi


What is a brain dump?

A brain dump is a quick and easy technique to clear your head of all the thoughts, feelings, worries, questions, tasks and potential solutions that have been pilling up in your mind.

The act of dumping everything that’s on your mind onto a blank page is like flipping your backpack over and emptying all its content onto a table!

A brain dump, according to the Macmillan dictionary is “an occasion when you say or write everything you know and can remember about a subject.”

And in this article, the subject is your dissertation.

So, now that we’ve defined what a brain dump is, it’s time to look at the reason why a dissertation brain dump can be a game-changer for you and your dissertation journey!


Why do a dissertation brain dump?

  • It allows you to focus on what needs to get done rather than having bits of information, deadlines and pressure thrown around in a jumble.

  • Organize your time and efforts.

  • Keep moving forward instead of always looking back to see what might have slipped through the cracks.

  • Start decluttering your mind.

  • The paper (or document) will hold the anxieties, reminders and tasks so that you can see them clearly and act, plan and focus on your dissertation. It’s easier to deal with the outcome when it’s laid out in writing.

  • Get immense clarity about your dissertation.

  • Overcome the feelings of overwhelm and chaotic thoughts. believe in rewarding yourself after completing a task related to your dissertation. The truth be told, it's much easier to deal with a heavy workload if you have something to look forward to.


How do I do a dissertation brain dump?

I always do my dissertation brain dump using pen and paper, but you can use a laptop or a smartphone, if you prefer; it’s up to you.

Begin your first brain dump by sitting at a table with a notebook and your favorite pen, laptop, or smartphone; have your favorite beverage at hand, take a deep breath, think and jot down any thoughts you have about your dissertation.

Don’t assume anything! Write it all down. Think about your dissertation and write down whatever comes to mind. Do it thoughtfully, without resentment or grumbling, but thoroughly.


What happens when you complete your brain dump?

By the time you’re done, you’ll have a complete picture, a clearer mind, more detailed notes and a better understanding of where you’re going and what needs to get done in relation to your dissertation. Overall, you’ll feel more focused and at ease.

Now that you’ve written everything down, it’s time to organize, plan, delete, adjust and modify.

You can start by categorizing and color-coding everything you’ve captured on paper.

Then, with your calendar or planner in hand, consider what you want to accomplish this week, this month, this year. Ask yourself:

  1. What is required of you on a daily or weekly basis?

  2. What seems unrealistic about your dissertation?

  3. What helps you get a good start to your day?

  4. What would help you in creating and maintaining a more accurate calendar?

  5. What habits do you need to change or develop?

  6. What attitudes do you need to change?

  7. Are you willing to commit to finishing your dissertation?

Now, you know exactly where you are, how far you’ve come and how far you still have to go on your dissertation journey; this knowledge is priceless!


It's an on-going process

Making a brain dump doesn’t prevent overwhelm from happening again. If You’re feeling overwhelmed or out of balance in your academic life, try doing a brain dump to bring yourself back into a more comfortable space.

Brain dumps are a great way to boost your productivity.

After all, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” – David Allen.

I hope you enjoyed your reading!

If I can be of assistance during your dissertation journey, I encourage you to book a Discovery Call with me, and find out how we can work together.

Have an amazing day!

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