The “Brain Budget”: Keep YOU and Your Most Valuable Asset Fit, Focused, and Fabulous!

Guest Author: Melissa H. Wolak

I’m very excited to welcome my friend and colleague Melissa H. Wolak, MS, CCC-SLP as a guest author again this month!  Ms. Wolak is a Transformation Coach, Speaker, and Speech-Language Pathologist in Boulder, Colorado. To read her latest “brain changer” posts and find out more about Melissa, check out her website:  

For more details about Melissa and her work scroll to the end of this post. Let’s learn how to be more productive by keeping our Brain in Balance! 

With this new year, we often create new goals and intentions BUT how do we stay on track and make decisions to support ourselves and our health throughout the day? Here is a strategy that I started using with my clients years ago. Now, my friends and I use it too! The “Brain Budget” is simple tool that provides a strong foundation for keeping you and your brain sharp and healthy. This may be familiar to you (similar to the Spoon Theory).

Your Brain Budget categories

Your Brain Budget Categories: Make sure your Deposits are Balanced with your Withdrawals for Peace and Health! Design credit (c) Melissa Wolak

What is the “Brain Budget”?

The Brain Budget is a prioritization system used to maximize energy and create space in the day for healthy lifestyle activities, to find joy and be productive.  It facilitates prioritizing consciously and being more present with increased focus by spending “Brain Dollars” more mindfully.

“Brain dollars” are essentially a way to quantify your valuable time and energy. By balancing your spending and creating reserves we decrease effects of chronic stress, inflammation, and disease while maintaining well-being. In my line of work, I notice that our “Brain Dollars” are not frequently taken into account when making plans, schedules, and goals.

How Do I Use the Brain Budget Tool?

When creating your Brain Budget there are multiple areas of life to take into account with the following questions. To make this easier to take stock of your Brain Budget categories, you can download the Brain Budget Tool here >>

Brain Budget Deposits:

Think about your answers to these questions; then write them down on the Brain Budget Tool.

  • What gives you energy?
  • Who gives you energy and support?
  • What things will you do today that will make you feel grounded, nourished, energized, happy?

Examples of tasks related to the Brain Budget categories are found on the Brain Budget Tool – click on the link to download it now, if you haven’t already!

Question: Can you add any more deposits to your day?

Brain Budget Withdrawals:
  • What costs energy and doesn’t seem to give back?
  • What actions are depleting, make you tired, create frustration or resentment, and make you feel overwhelmed?

Question: Can you complete these actions more efficiently, delegate, and limit or even change the timing?

As you plan your days and weeks, ask yourself:

  • What is an investment for you, your family and your health?
    • Investments are things that modify your work or save you time and effort, like using a system for organizing your work.
    • Investments are also things that you do for your health, increase your joy, relax you, and fill your soul, like exercising or going on vacation.
  • Are there any activities that are depleting you that you can let go of (temporarily or permanently)?
  • What are your non-negotiable deposits (what you really need to keep yourself feeling good)? This is personal and will vary. It may be 8 hours of sleep (or a 20-minute nap), breakfast, exercise, being in nature, writing in a journal, your morning cup of coffee…really think about this and list at least 5.
Next Steps:
  • Once a week, look at your entire week and your brain budget. You want to ensure that you have the brain dollars and reserves to do what matters most! It may be leading a meeting on Friday, holding a sleepover party at your house, having a great date with your partner, or training for an upcoming race.
  • Balance your withdrawals and deposits – you do not want to be “in the red” or losing brain dollars on a daily basis. This chronic over-spending can result in debt and eventually bankruptcy or in other words – illness, brain fog, weight gain, or insomnia.

The goal is balancing our “Brain Dollars” and I want to support you in this endeavor to keep YOU and your brain fit, focused, and fabulous. To take this awareness further, check out my blog at and try this exercise using the Brain Budget Tool!

How to Cite this Blogpost in APA*:     Wolak, M. H. (2018, January 23). The “Brain Budget”: Keep YOU and your most valuable asset fit, focused, and fabulous! [Web Log Post]. Retrieved from *Citation should have hanging indent

Guest Author Bio:

Melissa H. Wolak, MS, CCC-SLP is a transformation coach and speaker providing education and empowering strategies to support functional, healthy lifestyle changes, resiliency, productivity, and wellbeing. She supports the goal to live in more alignment and vitally by decreasing the effects of chronic stress and optimizing your brain’s potential while preventing cognitive decline and disease. Her work is influenced by her 20 years of experience as a speech-language cognitive therapist and facilitator of support groups while working in the medical and educational settings with additional training in the areas of Food as Medicine, Memory, Mindfulness, Anxiety and Stress Management.

To read her latest “brain changer” posts and find out more about Melissa, check out her website:

And, in case you missed them, you can also check out her other guest posts on the Nursing Education Website that are sure to help you be your best self!

You can schedule an appointment or email Melissa at