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Why Handwriting To-Do Lists Will Make You More Productive

I’m a list-maker. Always have been. I build my day around a handwritten to-do list complete with little check-off boxes next to each task. Completing an item on the list and ticking that box gives me a thrill and a sense of satisfaction.

So imagine my excitement when I learned that making lists can reduce stress, help you learn and boost your motivation. Here are some of the lists that offer those benefits, courtesy of

Bucket List — Writing down everything you’d like to see, do or accomplish before you kick the bucket is a good first step towards achieving those life goals. An effective bucket list should be based in reality, consisting of objectives that you are committed to making happen. But some real thought into this list and it will serve as a road map to a more fulfilling life.

Related: This Tech Millionaire Sold Everything To Travel The World With His Family

Amazing Experiences List — Research indicates that writing about positive experiences can boost both our mental and physical health. So, take some time to compile a list of every great moment in your life so far – big and small. The birth of your kids, special journeys, graduations, winning that dream job, your first kiss. Writing all of this down will warm your heart, boost your mood and remind you that life has been pretty darn good.

Work Stress List – Job keeping up at night? Write down everything that’s stressing you out at the office and you might find that many of those issues aren’t that big of a deal. Looking over the list, you may discover that some the tasks that seem overwhelming can be delegated, pushed back, or broken down into easier-to-manage subtasks.

Related: 5 Signs You Spend Too Much Time Worrying

Learning Lists – It’s a proven fact that hand writing notes helps us master new knowledge by grooving it into our brains. When you need to learn new material for work or life — sales stats, facts for your pilot’s license test — start out by making a list of exactly what material you need to cover to ensure your truly finish studying. As you study, summarize the material by writing it down in a bullet point list. It will make a difference, guaranteed.

Multi-Step Task Lists – Since the dawn of aviation, pilots have been using a pre-flight checklist to ensure they have checked and double-checked every critical system on their plane before takeoff. Hospitals have instituted similar checklist protocols to reduce treatment errors and infections. Consider a similar system for the multi-step activities in your job or life.   Example: a buddy of mine recently created a checklist to help his ADD son get out the door for school in the morning. He says it has made mornings much easier for everyone in the family.

Epic To-Do List – My personal favorite. List every single undone task in your life – big and small. While the result might prompt a bit of hyperventilation, you will get a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as you move down the list, checking off items throughout your day. Such a list is also useful for maximizing your time. Free for an unexpected 20 minutes? Take a look at your to-do list and see what small chore you can check-off in that gift of time.

Related: How To Tell Your Life Story – And Secrets

And, finally, let me suggest one more list – call it a gratitude list. Write down everything you are thankful for in your life. Look over this list every day and add to it on a regular basis. Counting your blessings will help but everything else in perspective.


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