Trying to stay productive is a hard task. One minute, you’re thinking of that one email you need to send out before lunch, and the next, you’re Googling how to get gum out of your hair or how to create inspiring boho chic decor. Fortunately, there are several types of productivity hacks out there that can help you stay focused, and creating a to-do list is one of them.
Contrary to what you probably think, to-do lists aren’t just mindless sticky notes with goofy emojis that help you pretend like you’re getting your life together. Instead, these lists can help you stay productive and get much more done during work hours. Don’t believe us? Here are some reasons why you need to create a priority list everyday at work:
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It Creates Order
Sometimes, our work day can be a muddled mess. There’s so much to do and so much to think about that we don’t even know where to start from. This disorganized state can be a major hamper to productivity and efficiency. As humans, our brain can’t handle major projects as a whole. We need them broken down into smaller bits and chunks. Thus, once you create a to-do list and break down your tasks, everything becomes more organized and easier to process.
Helps to Relieve Stress
Here’s the thing: thinking about work is a major downer for anyone. Sure, you might not necessarily have much to do, but the mere thought that you have an uncompleted task lying somewhere can be headache-inducing. However, writing down tasks on the to-do list and crossing them off can be a huge relief. Some even argue that crossing off items on your list releases dopamine into the brain, giving you a feel-good sensation. Think of it as completing levels in a video game. Even though you aren’t at the end of the game yet, completing one level and getting it out of the way will make you feel accomplished and relieved.
The truth is, we all get overwhelmed by work sometimes. With so much to do, it’s hard to keep your head above water without getting drowned by the daily hassles of work. Fortunately, creating a to-do list can help you lessen your workload and focus on more important tasks by delegating them. For instance, if your list seems too long, you can delegate or outsource some tasks to your colleagues or subordinates. This way, you can focus on the most important tasks and churn out better results. Remember: what really matters isn’t the amount of work you get done; it’s how well you do the work.
Have you ever thought about a task and said to yourself ‘I’ll just do it later?’ We do it all the time. Unfortunately, “later” is often a subtle synonym for “never.” In most cases, we never get back to those tasks that we promised we’d do. This is where to-do lists come in. Creating a to-do list can help to boost accountability and ensure that you really do everything you said you’ll do. The list will serve as a constant physical reminder of your promise, ensuring that you’ll never forget it. Even if you think of just ignoring the task completely, the thought of having one uncrossed item on the list will irk you until you finally summon the mental energy to get the job done.
What Does Psychology Say About To-Do Lists?
To-do lists are quite important when it comes to productivity. But don’t just take our word for it. What does psychology actually say about this productivity hack?
According to a study by two professors from Wake Forest University, making a plan to get tasks done can free people from anxiety. The study proved that when participants failed to complete a warm-up activity, they typically failed the next task succeeding it. However, when they were allowed to make notes and draw up concrete plans for the warm-up activity, they performed better on the next task. Put simply, the findings of this study showed that writing tasks down can make anyone yield more effective and productive results.
If you’ve been struggling with productivity at work, a to-do list might be just what you need to get you back on track. Although this hack isn’t exactly a magical wand that can get your life back in order, it definitely helps to relieve stress and anxiety while making you productive at the same time. So, whip out your sticky notes and a pen and start drafting your list today. We hope this helps. Good luck!