Article in brief: the author extols the benefits of to-do lists, and how the physical to-lists in particular have always worked with her.
In a day and age where technology seems to be increasingly taking over our lives, in beneficial and not-so-beneficial ways, the trusty old paper and pen still has an enduring appeal. When it comes to organizing your life and making to-do lists, I find that writing things down on paper helps in a way no app or software can. But, having said that, it is my personal opinion and perhaps may not work for everyone. There are those who find electronic gadgets to be more efficient for their productivity. But in either scenario, the act of writing down your tasks has endless benefits.
Do you ever experience that late-night mental rush, when you want to wind down and sleep but all you can think of are the endless tasks you have to get done over the next few days? I have these episodes quite often but what always helps me is writing them down immediately. And no, not making a list on my phone but actually pulling out a post-it, notebook, or planner and writing down a list.
A pen and paper will never get old. The fact that it is just you (with a pen in your hand) and the paper interacting can never be replaced by some app where you have to enter commands or push special buttons to make a priority list. I usually start by quickly writing down all the tasks on my mind and getting them off my head and then I peruse the list and add numbers to each task- marking out their priority or what I want to start with first. The ability to re-write your list as you please and make arrows and annotations is something unique to the paper and pen.
Writing down to-do lists also de-stresses you. It’s a physical proof of your tasks, responsibilities, and achievements. Flipping through your planner will show a clear progression of your tasks – when they emerged, when you dealt with them and when they progressed to the next level.
There’s also some sort of amazing satisfaction and pride that comes with crossing things off. Finishing a task and holding that pen in your hand and scratching it off your list; there’s nothing like it. It pushes you to get even more done and is a good productivity booster.
One major benefit of writing down to-do lists is the fact that it comes with no distractions. If I had to write my lists and strategies on my phone or my computer it would perhaps take me triple the amount of time simply because I would get distracted by social media notifications and messages. You can take your planner or a piece of paper anywhere and comfortably write down everything you need to get done without distractions.
And finally, it also has the benefit of being a blank canvas. It helps you brainstorm and develop more efficient and creative ideas. There’s a particular joy associated with writing on a crisp, blank piece of paper.
I never use computers or mobiles to list my tasks or make a plan for the day. Ever since high school I’ve been using a planner or a notebook and it helps me stay organized like no other thing could. The importance of writing things down has so many benefits and helps you be a calmer, more organized, and less stressed individual.
Sidiqa is 25 years old and is half-Emirati and half-Pakistani. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Sharjah and a Master’s degree in Conflict Prevention, Sustainable Peace, and Security from the University of Durham in the UK. Sidiqa owns and manages the boutique-café concept store “Spontiphoria” in Wasl Square, Jumeirah.