The Productive Psychology and Practicality of Maintaining a To-Do List


For many, keeping a todo list just seems like one more task to manage, taking that many more precious minutes out of your day just to keep track of your accomplishments, without really accomplishing anything in and of itself.

Research shows that todo lists are actually great productivity tools, though, and the minutes you spend with your list can make the hours you spend on “real” tasks far more efficient and effective.

ToDo Lists Help You Focus on the Task at Hand

We live in a world of multi-tasking. Chances are pretty good you’re reading this article on a mobile device while you’re walking on an errand, commuting to or from work, or sitting in a meeting pretending this is an important message from a client (we won’t tell, promise).

Or maybe it’s one of four windows you have visible on your desktop computer while a conference call drones on in the background, or while you’re gobbling down a sandwich during a working lunch.

Today’s emphasis on multi-tasking is good for productivity, to a point, but according to a report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research there’s a limit to the number of tasks we can set our mind to at one time, and once we pass that point our productivity and our performance quality drops dramatically.

A todo list lets you move through your tasks one—or three—at a time, keeping you focused instead of flitting from item to item and letting you cross things off faster.

ToDo Lists Make Your Goals More Realistic and Concrete

According to the Transtheoretical Model of behavior, it can take a lot of time for our mental goals to turn into real-world actions, and there’s plenty of internal and external stimuli that can distract or dissaude us in the meantime.

Putting a goal—or even better, an actionable task that takes you closer to that goal—down on a todo list helps pull your objectives out of the theoretical space and into the real world a lot sooner. Crossing off or deleting an item on that list takes much greater conscious effort, meaning it will only happen if you truly change your mind about what you want to achieve.

ToDo Lists Help you Declutter and Destress Your Day

Finally, by keeping you on task and keeping your identified goals in place, a todo list delivers greater clarity to your day. Things feel less cluttered, and according to some medical professionals leading to less stress.

Less stress means an even greater ability to focus and get things done, meaning a todo list can be a part of a happy upward cycle towards greater productivity and prosperity.

Todo lists let you use your time in a way that creates greater value for you, your workplace, and your family, and they actually end up saving way more time than they take to maintain. This is especially true when you use a tool like Fetchnotes (c’mon, you knew it was coming!) to easily build, organize, and maintain your tasks with a few taps of finger.

Don’t let starting a todo list be one more task you file away in your mental space until it disappears in the clutter. Pop on over to Fetchnotes and see how easy it can be to get your productivity on track—and keep it there!

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