Productivity

Two REAL REASONS to Keep a To Do List

to do lists

If you hate to do lists, let me share with you two reasons you should think about them differently.

Many people don’t like to do lists. My guess is they’re commitment phobic. Or, like one of my clients, they did poorly in English class. Writing a list feels tantamount to a condensed eleventh-grade essay on Shakespeare. Only there’s no one around to reprimand you for poor grammar and punctuation. Hopefully.

But I haven’t met many people who can be effective without a list of some description. Some people have excellent memories. But I mostly hang out with ADDers who don’t.

Frankly, there are only two REAL REASONS to keep to do lists. I classify REAL REASONS to mean this: the way they benefit you because they actually do (benefit you) – not because you “should” keep them, or because everyone else keeps them.

Here they are:

To Do Lists Free your Mind

Think about how much grey matter is consumed by trying to remember all your commitments. When you don’t write them down, they occupy space in your cranium. Dump them out onto an external storage device and suddenly prime realty space becomes available.

A list is like an external hard drive for your computer, or building an extension on your house. Writing things down frees your mind to think about far more fascinating things. Like why this bubble bath is listed to be gluten-free but doesn’t actually tell you how many calories are in it.

To Do Lists Cheer You Up

We ADDers spend a lot of time chasing our tails. Scratching things off our lists make us feel like we aren’t going in circles. They prove that we have been effective, at least on some level. A list full of scratched-off things is like a mini-celebration. They scream “Yay, I got that done!”

We don’t often congratulate ourselves on being effective, quite simply because we think productivity should just be a given. To do lists do the celebrating for us.

I keep all my past lists, the ones I’ve already done. I’ll admit, I’m a geek. But when I feel woeful that I haven’t been very productive lately, I take out my lists to remind myself of everything I have accomplished. It’s like reminiscing over old family photos. Except my lists aren’t as cute as my baby learning how to do house chores for the first time 🙂

Do you like to do lists or loathe them? No matter how you feel about them, don’t forget the real reasons they benefit your life.

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