What to do when your brain is full of to-dos – Pick Dave’s Brain

This week’s question comes from Adam:

Q: In your Time Management Fundamentals class online, you recommended a brain dump where you take everything that you know you have to do and put it down in writing someplace. I’m hoping to find someone to help me do that. Would you give me some guidance please on how to find somebody to help clear my mind of its many to-dos?

Click to tweet this: Is your mind racing?  Hire someone to write down your ideas and email them to you for processing. @DaveCrenshaw

If you’ve got lots of to-dos whirling around in that head of yours, how do you clear all of that out of your mind?

This week’s question comes from Adam:

Hi, Dave! This is Adam from Baltimore, Maryland and I am calling about—videoing about—something that I saw in your Time Management Fundamentals class on lynda.com, which I really enjoyed.

There was a thing about a dump where you take everything that you know you have to do, all your obligations, all your stuff to be sorted, and put it down on paper someplace. And it’s helpful to have somebody else to help you do that.

And I am really hoping to find someone to be a kind of personal assistant to help me do that. Would you give me some guidance please in how to find somebody to help me organize myself and take all this information out of my head and make it organized?

Thank you so much!


Thanks for the question, Adam. I love the approach you’re taking. It’s very entrepreneurial. You’re saying “Organizing my ideas isn’t my most valuable activity. How can I delegate that to someone else?” It’s the right way to think about the work that you’re doing.

Now let me give you a couple of suggestions. First of all, what you’re looking for is not a full-time employee. In fact, you’re just really looking for someone to help you for an hour or two.

Back in the day, when I gave clients personal one-on-one Time Management training, I would sit with them and read each trigger off my Mental Triggers list. They would tell me what it was and I would send them an email so that they could process it later.

That’s really all you’re looking for. You want someone who can sit down with you and read each item off the list, one at a time. You say what comes to mind and then they send you an email of whatever you said.

So, if I were to hire someone, I would go on to Upwork and I would look for someone who is a native US speaker. Now I say that because you are from Baltimore. If I were from a different country, I’d look for someone who speaks my language.

And all I need to do is set-up a Skype call with someone for two hours where all they do is read one item then send me an email when I say something that comes off the list. I don’t need someone long-term and I especially don’t need someone long-term to help me process this list. Why? It is because processing is something that belongs to you.

Unfortunately, there’s NO WAY that I would ever want you to delegate the process of processing. The act of deciding what, when and where for each of those items that you dumped out of your mind is powerful. It trains your mind to become more aware of activities that are popping into your head, and it conditions you to get better and better at the what, when, where processing system that I teach in Time Management Fundamentals.

So you can get someone to help you with the brain dump. But the actual processing of it, that’s all on you.

Thanks for the great question, Adam.

And if you’ve got a great question for me, all you need to do is go to davecrenshaw.com/ask and I’ll be there to answer your question.

Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing what you send to me.

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