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How Writing To-Do Lists Helps Your Brain (Whether Or Not You Finish Them)

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https://www.fastcompany.com/3063392/how-writing-to-do-lists-helps-your-brain-even-when-you-dont-comple

fastcompany.com

How Writing To-Do Lists Helps Your Brain (Whether Or Not You Finish Them)
For a long time, I resisted to-do lists. I wanted the flexibility. I felt that if I kept a list, it would tie me down to a particular set of tasks. Gradually, though, I came around. The busier my work life became, the more crucial it was to have some sort of running agenda on hand.

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Writing helps your memory

When you take notes, you need to filter external information, summarize it in your head, and then write it down.

Your brain decides which pieces of information to hang onto for later, part...

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To-do lists and calendars

Once you write down the tasks you need to perform, you then have to clear space in your day to put some of those tasks onto your calendar.

This calendar maintenance is itself a useful exercis...

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Planning your goals

Planning turns abstract goals into concrete work.

For most people, the challenge is making sure we get the big-picture projects done, those that make work fulfilling. And it's hard to ...

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Become more organized

Become more organized

In order to be successful and reach your goals, you need to be organized.

One first step in this direction refers to starting your day planning: choosing the agenda that wo...

Practice a lot

Acquiring organizational skills, as in getting better at planning, can take a while. While finding the appropriate agenda is essential, making a habit out of using it is just as important.

Plan important moments monthly

When preparing your schedule on a monthly basis, make sure to add not only the daily tasks and objectives, but also the big moments.

For instance, integrating your friends' birthdays can prove both useful and time saving for the future.

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Personal Operations Category

  • Task management. This one is most commonly taught and includes systems like Getting Things Done.
  • Knowledge management. This is embodied in systems like productivity educa...

What's on your plate

Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place.  Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:

  • Do you have commitments to others like your boss, partner, kids, or clients?
  • Do you have anything you need to submit? 
  • Do you have any financial tasks that need to get done? 
  • Do you have any planning that needs to get done? 
  • Do you have any administrative tasks? Legal, insurance, staffing, or training?
  • Do you have any professional development tasks that need to get done? Training, areas to research, skills to develop, books to read or study, or classes to take?

Brainstorm your goals

Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:

  • What’s the one thing you could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary?
  • If you were giving advice to someone else in your position, what 1-3 things would you tell them to focus on?
  • What do you want to have accomplished over the next five years?

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A Specific Daily To-Do List

  • You should only put things on a to-do list that you have the time and resources to achieve
  • Big goals and projects should be broken down into actionable tasks.
  • ...

An Outsource List

  • Look at everything on your to-do list and ask yourself, ‘Am I the only person who can do this?’
  • Anything that can be given to someone else should be put on an outsource list.
  •  While outsourcing takes the extra time upfront to train someone else on the task, it saves you time later, which can be used to focus on the things you do have to do. 

A Long-Term Goals List

Even if you think it’s too big of a dream but it’s something you want, write it down anyway. 

When you write something down, studies say you’ll be 33% more likely to do it because it sets an intention and puts a goal into motion.

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