Talk with any organized person and chances are they routinely jot things down on to-do lists instead of trying to remember the tasks they have to get done. Organized people don’t trust their memory, they trust their lists.
If you stop to think, what you think about, it’s often the many things you have to get done. We spend a lot of our brain power remembering and reminding ourselves of the many tasks we have to do.
Writing things down instead of keeping them on your mind frees your mind to think about other, more creative things. You can relax knowing what you have to get done is written down and won’t be forgotten.
The first step in maintaining an efficient to-do list is to keep things written down in one system, instead of making many lists. Multiple lists tend to get scattered around your home and office. Some suggestions to keep your lists together; use a three-ring binder, index cards attached with a ring or electronically in your phone.
Once you decide on a system for capturing your tasks, break your list into various lists within that system based on what it is you need to do. If you have errands to run, then start a list titled errands. For your calls, title one phone calls. Other categories you may want to consider are; home repairs, grocery, discount retail stores, books you want to read, or ideas for a project you’re working on.
By breaking your to-do list into various categories, you will only look at the information you need at the time you need it. When making your calls, you won’t be looking at the errands you need to run and so on. This saves time.
To decide which list a task should go on ask yourself, “What’s my next step?” If your car needs an oil change, write that go on your call list so you can make an appointment, or your errand list if you plan to stop in a shop that doesn’t require appointments.
If you call for an appointment, check your call list and see what other calls you can make while you’re sitting with your phone and calendar in hand. When you go for your oil change, check your errand list and see what other errands you can accomplish while in that area. You’ll save time by getting similar tasks completed back-to-back.
Keep your to-do list nearby so you can write down tasks as you think about them. Having it on your desk, nightstand, in the car and on the bathroom counter are all places you tend to think about your tasks.
Writing things down frees your mind from the never ending remembering and reminding cycle. You’ll feel less stressed knowing things are written in your lists when you have time to accomplish something on those lists.
Breaking your list down by various categories will help you accomplish similar tasks quickly.
Give your brain a break; write tasks down so your mind can be more relaxed and able to focus on the present moment.