How to use a to-do list: Remembering Tasks Is Exhausting

We are not designed to remember everything due to the nature of our short-term memories.
How to use a to-do list: Remembering Tasks Is Exhausting

How to use a to-do list to free up space in your head.

“I don’t have to write that down. I’ll remember it.”

To-do lists and checklists are a great way of getting stuff done. Overwhelmed by the tasks we have to complete whether through procrastination or just a really hectic week. Trying to remember so much so nothing is forgotten can be challenging.

We are not designed to remember everything due to the nature of our short-term memories. Nobody is capable of remembering everything so why not use a To-do list as an external memory aid. 

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How to use a to-do list

The simplicity of to-do lists and checklists allows you to remove that constant drone of tasks to-do from the mind which can overwhelm us onto paper. 

Working out what needs to be done, prioritising tasks, then slowly work through them one-by-one, and get that amazing buzz when you cross them off as complete.

Breaking down complicated tasks into much smaller, more manageable tasks. 

Documenting tasks is the first step towards completing an item off that list.

Three Reasons to Use To-Do Lists

Why do we love to-do lists? How to use a to-do list to help reduce anxiety and become more productive.

Reduce Anxiety & Improved Memory: Free up extra brain capacity.  Allow you to work on the task rather than focusing on remembering to do it. Jumbling up trying to work out what needs to be done but also not forgetting another task to be remembered.

To-do lists allow you to refresh and acknowledge things you want to do and most importantly the things you need to get done.

Priorities & Structured Plan: Creating an actual list gives you a clear idea of what is the most important to accomplish when it comes to getting the priority tasks done. Also, some tasks will need another completion beforehand and the balance of remembering can blur that important step.

Helping you plan your workflow management and giving you a clear plan to follow to achieve everything you need to.

Achievement and Productivity: Keep yourself motivated. Ticking items off a checklist gives you proof of what we have accomplished and achieved in the day, or the last week or over the months. 

To-do lists are a great motivational tool because it gives clarity to your goals. Listing steps in the process to accomplish your goal gives you achievable short-term goals. The feeling of success every time you tick off an item off that you are close to completing your goals.

Psychology of the To-Do List

In the 1920s Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik carried out a study and identified what she called the “Zeigarnik effect” where people remember things they need to do far better than things they’ve accomplished.

A more recent study, by professors Baumeister and Masicampo called "Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the
Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals". Showing that tasks we haven’t completed can distract us, but making a simple plan like a to-do list or checklist to get them done can free us from this anxiety it causes.

“Simply writing the tasks down will make you more effective.”

Give your Mind Permission to Forget

To-do list and checklists are simple but very powerful tools for productivity and way for task management

Writing a to-do list will help "declutter your brain." Seeing a clear plan of completed and uncompleted tasks helps you get more organised and stay mentally focused. Recording all your tasks in a to-do list can help identify priority tasks so you can prioritise the most important tasks.

Having a list of all your tasks allows making a plan and better time management. But also gives your mind permission to forget.

Still have questions?
We’ve got answers.
What is a ToDo List?

What is a ToDo List? The definition is a simple one. It’s a list of tasks you need to complete or things that you want to do.

Most typically, they’re organised in order of priority. Traditionally, they’re written on a piece of paper or post it notes and act as a memory aid.

Read More: What is a ToDo List? Simple tool to organise everything

Why to do list is important?

One of the most significant benefits of why to do list is important that it will help you stay organized. It will also help those tasks appear more manageable.

You’ll be able to stay more focused because you’ve got an outline of what you’ve got to do and things you’ve already completed. Having tasks written in a list frees up space in your mind and allows you to be more creative.

Read More: Why to do list is important?

How do you create a great To-Do List?

How do you make a to-do list that works? One reason why to-do list doesn’t work is that most people don’t know how to craft them correctly. You could end up with a list that’s too long, too short, too convoluted or too confusing, among other things.

Read More: Make a To-Do List That Really Works!

Increase Productivity Create a To Do List

Planning all the activities that you have to tackle then handling them in order can save you a lot of time and stress while focusing on priorities. To-do lists are some of the simplest productivity tools.

However, you have to use them correctly to enjoy any real benefits. A hurriedly made checklist can end up wasting your day rather than organising it.

Read More: Create a To Do List: Increase Productivity & Get things Done