In this part of “The Whys of Productivity” we will look at a fundamental concept that goes through every system out there: writing things down.
Writing Things Down: Part of Every System
It doesn’t matter which system you look at: Daytimer, Filofax, 7 Habits, GTD, Do It Tomorrow…every system insists that you write things down. Each system differs on how and where you should write them down, but they all want you to get it down on paper (or electrons).
Why Write Things Down?
There are a number of reasons for writing things down. Here are a few of them:
Brains Don’t Remember Everything
Our poor little human brains are leaky. I don’t know if I forget things, or if I just can’t recall what I want, but the end result is the same: if I rely on my brain alone, I will misplace things.
By writing things down, in whatever format, I now have a record of the item that is physically accessible.
Writing Things Down Will Get Them Out Of Your Head
By talking to people, I know I’m not the only one who experiences this: if I try to remember things, they will pop back into my head at the most inopportune times. The example of this was the time I was presenting in a meeting, and I kept thinking about having to replenish toilet paper in a bathroom at home. Needless to say, it was distracting.
Writing things down, especially if you are confident you will see the written note, will allow you to forget things…to get them out of your head.
Writing Things Down Makes Them Concrete
Writing a nebulous thought down turns it from intangible into concrete. That’s why so many people who spout the “create your goals/mission statement/purpose” make you write them down.
When you write things down, they become more real to our brains, and we can then take appropriate action.
Writing Things Down
It doesn’t matter how you write things down, but the act of writing what you need to accomplish down will form the basis of any productivity system.
Photo by Paul Worthington