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Make a list, check it twice.

As I check off the last item on Monday’s list, I sit back and scan over the other tasks I have completed, give the nod of approval and acknowledge a successful day.


Making daily to-do lists has been a staple of mine for a few years now as I can have the memory of a goldfish at times. This past year has heightened the importance of lists in my day-to-day life.


The first reason, is that it enables us to offload that mental stress that can burden us during the day when we are constantly trying to remember all the things we need to get done. Getting them down on paper expands our memory capacity and allows us then to refer back to as we go about our day.


Secondly, ticking off tasks, however mundane they may be, leads us to tick off another task and then another as you get into the flow of your day. This is one reason why I try to include some mundane tasks such as; make a coffee, brush teeth or go outside, as ticking these off then makes me ready for perhaps a more complex and time-consuming task. Think of them like warm up sets. Doing these mundane tasks daily and keeping yourself accountable by putting them on the list will inevitably form a habit and before you know it, they will become automatic.


My third reason for keeping daily lists is the sense of accomplishment you get when you see a tangible object, the list itself, in your hands and you can quantify the productivity of your day. This then gets thrown into the bin and the list for the next day is made. Now, when I say quantify your productivity, I do not want to imply that every day has to include 10-20 highly complex and time-consuming tasks in order for it to be deemed a productive day. Your list could include one task; rest. This will then allow you to be productive on the days when you do have several tasks you need to get done.


To-do lists work for me, they may work for you or you may have tried them in the past and didn’t see the value. Whichever camp you fall in is up to you.


Give them a try and let me know how you get on.


Ben.



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