We all get busy. We’re often accumulating new tasks which need to get done, making plans for the future and being distracted by necessities such as registration renewal and bills to pay. All the while, we’re juggling it all simultaneously with full time work.

One simple habit can make life substantially easier. Maintaining a to-do list is not only an efficiency tool, it can make you smarter, help you figure out what’s important and de-clutter the masses of information that you take in every day.


To-Do Lists Make Your Memory Better

Keeping a list of tasks is the same as writing down notes during a lecture or highlighting a book that you’re reading. Many studies have shown that writing down notes helps memory recall and retention of knowledge. It’s the same thing with a to-do list. In order to write a to-do list, you have to mentally manipulate and condense information into a small note which will remind you later.

What this does is mentally differentiate the information from all the other information in your head. Information comes from everywhere. Whether it be the fantastic vietnamese roll place you found on your lunch break or the corporate deal you’re working on. Automatically spending a little bit of extra effort while writing your to-do list will prioritise the information which is truly important.


Turn Large Abstract Goals Into Small Achievable Steps

How can you get the big things done without getting the little things done first? We all have dreams and big goals that we want to achieve. Some people may want a promotion, others may seek financial freedom and some people just want an awesome vehicle (Knightsbridge can help with that).

Achieving these dreams and aspirations are daunting. Especially since the goal is so large and far away that it’s hard to know where to start and begin making progress.

A to-do list solves this problem. How? What it does is turn the large, abstract goal into small, coherent, concrete actions. By planning out what you need to do, other small things you should do becomes apparent because you’ve properly thought of the issue at hand. Even if your overall direction changes, you still will have a better idea of what you have to do simply because of the fact that you’re used to planning things out.


Clearing Out The Fog

Imagine that you’re out bushwalking in a really dense fog. You can only see a few meters around you and as such, can only really focus on the immediate obstacles. You might have a general direction of where you’re going, but you’ll never get on a decisive, direct path and avoid obstacles which don’t need to be dealt with. Keeping a to-do list as a habit will allow you clear the fog, see the direction that you should be moving in and allocates time to deal with the necessary obstacles along the way

There is so much more benefit to keeping a to-do list than just getting the things written down done. Making a habit of keeping a to-do list also gets you into the habit of properly planning ahead, getting the little and important things completed and makes large,  abstract goals a reality.

There are websites and applications which can help you keep a to-do list such as https://en.todoist.com/.

But I just prefer to use pen and paper.