Benefits Of List Making
Your brain actually craves stability and organization!
Have you ever tried to fall asleep at night with everything you have to do the next day swimming around in your head? It can make it hard to relax, which makes it even harder to start tomorrow off on a well-rested, optimistic note.
What about sitting down for the work day and you just can’t seem to focus? Or trying to remember that one thing you know you have to do, but just can’t seem to put your finger on?
The next time anything like this happens, we have the perfect solution: grab a pen and paper (or your phone, laptop, tablet, anything you can write on) and make a list. It is as simple as it sounds, — list making is incredibly beneficial to your overall happiness, productivity, and motivation. But how exactly can a short little list be so life-changing?
Gets you organized
Our heads can get pretty full, as can our plates when it comes to juggling work, personal life, events, and other to-dos. Creating a list helps you info-dump all those needs into an easy-to-read format, letting you clear your mind so you can better focus on how to execute your tasks. Once you get everything down, you can even organize your list into different categories — most to least important, easiest to hardest — whatever suits you at the time.
Keeps you accountable
It’s pretty difficult to make excuses for not finishing a task when there’s nothing keeping you accountable. A clear to-do list, sitting right there on your desk, or on your fridge, or as a nagging alert on your phone, is a helpful reminder and that little nudge we all need to stay on track.
Did you know that your brain actually releases dopamine, the ‘happy hormone,’ when you complete a task? Even the smallest thing, like answering an important email or making your bed, can flood your system with this reward chemical. And guess what? Crossing tasks off your to-do- list is just as rewarding. This helps with stress relief, keeping you happy and calm throughout your day so you can achieve all your goals. And jotting down your goals in and of itself also relieves the stress that comes with having unfulfilled tasks.
One more for stress relief: As humans, we are practically wired to focus on the things we haven’t done yet, rather than the goals we’ve accomplished. Making a list can help you remember not only what you’ve yet to do, but also what you’ve already accomplished, leading to stronger feelings of satisfaction and less distraction during your day.
Helps with memory
The great thing about writing down your tasks is that it can actually trigger your memory of another task you might have forgotten. Go grocery shopping might remind you to clean out your fridge. Send email to boss could remind you to update the work calendar. Then you can add these newly-remembered tasks to your list, and you won’t have to wonder — “what was I going to do again?”
Assists in decision making
Having something like a pro-con list is extremely helpful when you have a big decision that you simply can’t seem to make. Having everything written down in front of you helps you see the facts of the situation more clearly than if everything was buzzing around in your mind. To-do lists can even help with this. If you’re stuck trying to figure out what task to start first, seeing them all written down can help you prioritize.
One of the biggest perks of having a list is that it helps you break down larger tasks so they seem less intimidating. Outline the first chapter is easier than write the essay. Do the dishes is better than clean the house. At the end of the day, having smaller, more manageable tasks will help keep you motivated, and prevent you from feeling burned out by everything you have to do. **
So the next time you’re feeling stuck or stressed or overwhelmed, remember that simply creating a list can help clear your head, set you on the right track, and help you accomplish all your goals!
Do you like to make lists? What’s your favorite method of list-making? Let us know in the comments, we always love to hear from you!