Writing Wednesday: To-do lists, for sanity’s sake

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My son explains life with this simple to-do list.

Recently The Big Cheese Coaching blog had a great post In Defense of the Lowly “To Do List” on how getting things out of your head and onto paper can help keep you thinking in a calm, organized manner. I know I have to write my lists or I end up in a confused swirl wondering what I’m supposed to be doing next.

One of the points in the article I found very interesting is that a tool doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated to be effective. Writing things on a piece of paper is a scientifically-proven way to clear your mind and focus your priorities. It’s super-simple. You don’t need special training or specific equipment. And yet, it’s one of the most powerful productivity methods out there.

Another point I found interesting is that list-making is just one “tool” in the productivity “toolbox.” The article lists other tools, to which I would add: timers, time blocking, having actual downtime, and more.

Do you write To-Do lists? What are other ways you clear your mind and organize your thoughts?

6 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: To-do lists, for sanity’s sake

  1. I use my wonderful Exacompta Space 24 day planner for my To Do or Tasks list. In the larger M-F areas & in the smaller Sat. & Sun., I add a roman numeral I), IV) and carry it over to the large NOTES section of the planner using the corresponding Roman Numeral. My life is one of “organized-confusion”, but I manage to get them done. If I don’t complete a To Do on that day, I just carry it over to the next…

  2. I use my wonderful Exacompta Space 24 day planner for my To Do or Tasks list. In the larger M-F areas & in the smaller Sat. & Sun., I add a roman numeral I), IV) and carry it over to the large NOTES section of the planner using the corresponding Roman Numeral. My life is one of “organized-confusion”, but I manage to get them done. If I don’t complete a To Do on htat day, I just carry it over to the next…

  3. I use to-do lists throughout the semester (I teach). I seem to rely on them more now that I am doing a lot more teaching online. There are things to tweak, fix, etc., and I can’t always do these tasks immediately, so adding the task to the to-do list and then checking them off as I go along always makes me feel as if I am moving forward. Like Bob says, the to-do list is a motivational tool.

  4. I definitely do, in the heat of experiments, using my task manager. And in my planner, when prepping for the next day/week/whatever…

  5. Laurie YES YES YES. I love my notebooks and pens to write stuff done. I heard an advertising slogan recently that said I don’t write it down to remember it later I write it down to remember it now!. So true for me then multiple times throughout the day I refer to my list and admittedly enjoy finishing some of the easy ones to give me motivation for success.

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