We all create to-do lists, but what about other lists? Are urgent and necessary tasks the only items worth noting down?
People like John Lennon, Ellen DeGeneres or Sir Richard Branson don’t think so. They’re all, reportedly, big-time list makers.
Having an External Brain
“Building and maintaining an ‘external brain’ for navigating our world is critical for a sustainable lifestyle.”—David Allen, International Best-Selling Author, Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity
The ‘external brain’ that David Allen refers to is simply any system that allows you to get the stuff out of your head and stop being overall anxious about all the stuff you need to do, to remember, to consider or to keep as a reference.
Sounds like something for a person with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)? Not at all. You don’t have to be a busy executive either in order to have so much on your plate that your mind goes crazy. Everyone can benefit from making lists and getting stuff out of that head. College students, mothers, freelancers, retirees – you name it.
Computers have a Random-Access Memory to multi-task hundreds of processes at once, but you’re not a computer and you don’t multi-task. You have a very powerful, creative brain that allows for random inventive thoughts and artistic imagination. But those powers are hindered greatly when you need to keep reminding yourself about what to buy on your way back home or what should you include in your preparation for hosting some event.
How to Free Up Your Brain
The single biggest benefit of list-making is not that you will never forget about things you want to do. It’s that it’s the only way that allows your brain’s bandwidth to free up.
Most people only lists of tasks that are urgent and important, they make to-do lists.
But do we tend to think only about the most urgent and important tasks?
If we did, then we would be having perfectly peaceful minds if we just kept our to-do lists up-to-date and worked on tasks enlisted there. In reality, it’s not that simple.
Those are just few of an ordinary person’s thoughts during the day:
- Should I contact <person’s name>? It’s been a while. What should I say?
- Where should I choose to go for next vacation? Place X or Z? I’ve heard Y is good too! I need to plan in advance.
- Summer is coming, I have to refresh/fix A. Where do I begin?
- I need to get some new clothes. Which style of shirt/pant should I go with this time?
We’re constantly thinking not only about today’s tasks but about the whole future. And what does the accumulation of thinking about urgent stuff and the future lead to? Anxiety, stress, feeling overwhelmed.
But once you start making lists, you immediately feel better. Your head feels much freer.
Here are some examples of lists you could make:
- A list of events to consider
- A list of websites to visit
- A list of restaurants to try
- A list of Spring cleaning tasks
- A list of resources for any project
- A list of healthy foods
- A list of foods to avoid
- A list of things to do in <city name>
Remember, the whole magic happens after you’ve gotten every single recurring thought out of your brain. Only then you can truly relax and enjoy life. Because those lists, unlike thoughts, are not going anywhere. They’re there to stay.
Start Making Lists Today Using TaskLabels
TaskLabels handles list-making seamlessly. This is what it was designed for in the first place.
This app will allow you to not only quickly and easily create multiple lists but also manage and organize them using group labeling, sharing and color coding.
So what are you waiting for? Start freeing up your brain today!