There is so much to be said about writing down a list of the days tasks. The simplest way to orgainise a day, hugely effective. Done by successful people throughout time yet rarely common or even taught. Whether you do it by hand or write it on software to be shared (as I do). The act of methodically going through what is to be done and the pleasure of ticking off the completed tasks makes even the most arduous proposition manageable and more relaxing. There are a few different angles to understanding how effective it is. Diary form: as to write the day’s happenings as part of a routine can help us reflect on what is going on around us. It can act as a form of therapy and in writing by hand can offer a link between our thoughts and hands (a sort of hand/eye exercise in mental coordination).

Writing it down makes it real

Then there’s the practical application. In rendering tasks into manageable chunks and ticking them off, the daunting array of things to do suddenly get easier. I always begin with the easier stuff, washing the pots or emptying bins. By the time they’re all done the momentum has built and I am 50% through a days work in no time. I feel good and feeling good boosts productivity. Feeling good about what’s infront of you is a huge chunk of completing tasks. Feeling good gets things done.

Some would call this a life hack. Life hack sounds cool, so if that’s what it takes to get more people orgainising their time better then this life hack has a good track record.

Geniuses Do It

Leonardo DaVinci famously wrote down everything. He had is scrap book he would make lists for things to do and scribble thoughts down and drawings. I find just the act of making real on paper little ideas and thoughts can free up your mind by its manifest and we can move on. Just the act of writing it down can help piece together the ideas bubbling at the surface.

Tim Ferris along with many of his interviewees talks of writing down the next days tasks the night before to hit the ground running. There’s nothing worse than waking up, not having an order and list of things to do. I find myself sitting there with a coffee, misty eyed wondering where best to start and how best to start. With a list you’ve done all that work already and the path to productivity is clear – Get that done there.

Samuel Pepys wrote a diary everyday and it’s now a treasure, one of the greatest records of 17th century London. This was the man who completely orgainised the Royal Navy from ramshackle, corrupt mess to a serious efficient fighting machine. His diary can be read here. He is seriously one of the most orgainised people you can read up about and how he transformed the navy is definitely worth reading up on. Never-mind the hours of entertainment his notes provide.

Thomas Jefferson (founding father of the United states and later President) would write notes meticulously. He adhered to a daily routine which is similar to the list method outlined above. If you look further into what made him tick and, given what he achieved he has definitely some gems of wisdom. More can be read up on his methods here.

Available at the touch of a button

But what of the modern person with a phone in one hand a difficulty in keeping focused as it is. For that technology has come to our aid. I downloaded OneNote on my iPhone (via Appstore) and PC. My fiance has the same system and I jot notes and tick off lists via that. Having someone else able to see it also lends an incentive to get it done and be accountable. You can download OneNote via here and if you already have Microsoft Office it should be there.



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