I am a compulsive list maker. I make lists for everything: packing, work to-dos, personal to-dos, groceries… Every Monday morning, I take a few minutes to write out the things I need to complete on each day of the week. You don’t have to create lists for the majority of your life like I do, but here are 5 reasons why starting a to-do list will help you.
- When you know what you need to get completed, you can more efficiently budget your time.
Those small items on the list don’t grow to take up your whole day when you view them in perspective of all the many things you need to complete. As a children’s minister or someone in a people-related job, interruptions are inevitable. A to do list can alleviate that nervous feeling of “what else should I be doing right now” that you have when someone stops by the office.
- A to-do list doubles as a list of goals.
I heard a story about a Harvard MBA graduates who were tracked for a few years through the start of their careers. 3% had written down their goals, and at the end of the study, those 3% made ten times as much as the other 97% combined. Why? They knew what they were working toward, and when you know where you are trying to go, it’s a lot easier to get there.
- To do lists force productivity.
Even on those days when you just have no desire to get things done, you can see what not working towards the things on the list will do to the rest of your week, and if you are like the majority of the population, it’s not going to do good things to your week. It’s like built-in accountability!
- To do lists lower stress.
And we all need a little less of that in our lives. When you can see what you need to do, you can break it down into doable sections.
- To do lists help you really focus on the project at hand.
When all the things you need to do are out of your head and on a sheet of paper, your mind can be completely engaged in the to do list item you are working towards scratching out.
If for no other reason, I have a to do list for the feeling that I get when I can scratch something out because it has been completed! Anybody else with me? Do you write something on the list just so you can mark it off?