Long, long ago people had to retain information in their mental memory bank. Sometime between then and now came the ability to write everything down for posterity. Now, many of us have a hard time keeping up with everything unless we write it down. And for a good reason!
Do you find yourself taking notes on your phone? Do you keep sticky notes nearby? Writing things down frees up mental space in our brain, allowing new information to enter. That’s why we’re able to accomplish more for work and in life.
Making a to-do list helps your business advance overall because it’s a way to communicate goals. As a business owner, your team benefits from knowing what exactly needs to be accomplished and when. As a team member, your individual productivity increases, and you have a better grasp of your contributions to the company.
Make an effective to-do list
A to-do list is your plan of action. Think of this process as holding yourself accountable for completing what you need to do. When you see your tasks written out, you’re more inclined to complete them.
You’ve probably thought to yourself, ‘there’s a million things to do and only 24 hours in a day to do it.’ A list will help organize and structure your priorities. Get things done effectively with these tips.
Assess your workload
Everything in the world and then some doesn’t have to make your list. Identify your biggest projects and commitments. You want to see your tasks organized, but you don’t want to overwhelm your brain by having to size up a lengthy list.
What’s the most pressing assignment that needs to be completed? What’s the second most important? What can wait until later in the day to be completed or tomorrow, if need be?
Streamline your process by setting a due date for your projects. This sets a timeframe for completing what you need to do.
Our brains like it when we complete tasks
Whether you consider yourself a planner or not, psychology studies suggest our minds love planning and completing things. Our brains can sense when something is left unfinished and it doesn’t respond well to it. Hello, anxiety and stress.
When we “check things off our list” or complete it one by one, our brain releases dopamine. We feel satisfaction when something’s done. Chemicals are at work! You’ll likely feel like you can take on the next task.
On a more conscious level, keeping a list of tasks to complete organizes our thoughts. It also helps you honor your commitments.
Making a to-do list can help you accomplish more in a day. When those items are checked off your list by the end of each day, look back at how much you’ve accomplished by the end of the week. That’s an amazing feat.