A productivity tool - #CTBrainDump

A New Week, Already?!

After I read my bible yesterday morning, I looked at instagram for a few minutes and stumbled upon Create & Thrive's blogpost on Morning Brain Dumps. This was a God-sent message for me, since I had no idea how to go about what seemed like a frustrating Monday.

You see, I'm writing a thesis and I have a  big, huge problem: I'm not actually writing anything. Ouch, that is not a nice place to be. I'm spending my days frantically looking for a primary source to analyse for my thesis. I've read a bunch of secondary material already and am hooked on my topic of choice, I just haven't had much luck locating a primary source.

The Morning Brain Dump

Well, enough with the woe-is-me already and on to the tool, right?!

You basically make four lists before your day begin. The first and most important is your MUST list. The second is your SHOULD list, then there is your COULD list and finally the WANT TO list.

Since September 2014 a bullet journal has been my faithful friend, so naturally I made the list in my journal.  It started out looking like this (and yes, I did it in English because most of you don't read Danish and I know you are curious to know what I actually had to do, you don't have to thank me, really it's okay):

During the day more items got added as I thought of them, because I was waiting to hear from the royal library whether or not they could find a book in their archives. For hours it didn't look like I would make any progress on my most important MUST, so I decided to get a lot of other things taken care of, while I basically had to sit around and wait.

By 1 pm, the end of my lunch break, my list had grown quite a bit, but a lot had also been checked off:

At 2 pm, while I was busy working on both COULD items and a WANT TO item, I received notice from the Royal Library that the book I needed was now available. So I waited not so patiently until my bread was done baking and my laundry could be put in the dryer and then I headed off to the capital. By then my list looked had no item on it, that I hadn't at least started to work on:

When I came home, I had two possible primary sources for my thesis and had gotten a whole lot of things done, so I decided to relax, finish this post, drink some tea and knit on the sock as the only item left anywhere on the list was the PT (Practical Theology) for next week.

Evaluation Time

Not only did I get a lot done, I also felt like I had a really enjoyable day. Being able to see that you are getting the things you MUST get done is great, seeing the SHOULD, COULD and WANT TO is fantastic.
I'm going to try this out for a while and would encourage you to do the same. Have you tried something similar before or do you have another favourite productivity tool?


  1. I really like this idea, I am definitely someone who works better with lists and checkboxes. I also love how you shade in part of the box when you have partially completed a task!

    1. The partially shading stems from a day I had a lot on my plate but with every task some problem would arise so I felt like I had gotten nothing done. Then I started shading according to how far from finishing I was and could see that I had actually done lot.

  2. I've been hearing lots of good things about bullet journaling, this looks effective! I have a Day Designer planner, my first time using it this year. I find I'm a bit spotty with my usage, I find it tough to stick to a solid system every day. But that's something I Need to work on.

    1. That's the reason I love bullet journal. You just pick up where you left off. Been 6 days since you used it last? no problem, just star where you are today. no wasted space...

  3. I have something similar in that when I know I have a lot I want to get done (or need to get done), I grab a notebook and jot down a list, in no particular order. As I get these tasks done, I cross them off. If they don't get done, the notebook is there and I carry them over to the next day or the next chore day (these are usually for days I am off work). So the difference is that I don't categorize them.

    1. That's what I do normally too, but if you need a boost then the categorising is really good because it a) makes you think about what kind of a chore you are doing and b) lets you feel like you got to do things you wanted to as well as things you should do.