Quick introduction

The Empty Brain method is about getting everything out of your head and down on paper so that you can stop thinking about it!  It’s a method you can use everyday, or when you feel it’s needed. The empty brain method can be done in a group as well as individually.


This method is helpful when you need to start up an idea session, giving your brain a fresh new sheet to start from. It can also be used as a way to structure your thoughts and tasks gathered in your mind, where the output can be a to-do list or a timeline with tasks mapped to it.


The empty brain method contains 2 steps.

Step 1. You need a sheet of paper, a pen, and a moment to sit down.

Start by writing down everything you need to get done. Continue by writing down everything you’re thinking off, i.e. not only task related thoughts. This can take a while, but can also be fairly quick, depending on how much stuff you got spinning around in your head. When you work in group, this part of the method could preferably be done all together in a discussion, sitting around with one large piece of paper. Note the input of all participants of the group on the same paper.

When all the ideas are written down let the paper take over the responsibility for them, so that your brain no longer have to keep track of those things.

Step 2 is about how to organize your data.

One way of doing this is to find the 10 most important things you need to get done immediately and focus on results. Another way is to categorize and prioritize the tasks (example themes could be: business / home / friends), map them to a time schedule as a to do or you can just store them for later on.

Now, when it’s time to work, you can use the task-prioritization and go through the tasks one by one. When finishing, write a big line through each task after completing them!  (Satisfying!)

Depending on how you use the method – this could also be the moment to do another Empty Brain session over the new task you have ahead.


  • Make sure to write up every little thing that comes to mind, everything from “buy bread” to “book a meeting with Mrs. X”
  • Remember it’s important to let go of things once you’ve put them on paper!


  • Make it to complicated!
  • Hesitate!

Facilitator’s role

If driven by a facilitator, the role is to be responsible for setting up the method for how to empty the brain. E.g. choose between mind mapping/timeline/other.

Reflection questions

  • How was it?
  • Did you feel that this was valuable for your work? In what way?
  • Could other methods for structuring the ideas once they are on paper work better for you?