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

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 exercise for fighting the tide of interruptions you’re always facing. It pulls your brain out of a reactive mode and forces you to think about the long term. 

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

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

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

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

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, partly as a result of how much work you do to them upfront–so the more you mentally manipulate a piece of information, the better you’ll remember it. 

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 exercise for fighting the tide of interruptions you’re always facing. It pulls your brain out of a reactive mode and forces you to think about the long term. 

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 achieve them without breaking them into a coherent set of concrete actions you can take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

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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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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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Setting priorities
Properly setting priorities is an essential skill for business success. 

Take a long-term view when setting priorities and you’ll have a much greater chance of achieving your objectives....

Identify Your Goals

Start by taking a bird’s eye view of your life and slowly nail down more specific goals.

Identify your big goal. Then get more granular and identify specific goals along the way.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Each goal you set should be S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

  • Specific: The more specific your goals are, the better chance you have of achieving them.
  • Measurable: Can you identify milestones to hit along your way to success?
  • Attainable: Are you willing and able to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve your goal?
  • Relevant: A goal that you care about.
  • Timely: Make sure every goal you set is time-bound.

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