Manage Your Time Better with Written Notes
7 Reasons Why Writing Helps You Organize and Manage Your Time Better
Reason #1: Writing allows you to easily retrieve the information you need without overloading your memory.
According to information specialists, the brain processes an average of 10,000 sensory impressions per second, whether they come from within us or from the outside. Your brain handles so much information in a day that, after a few weeks or months, your memory may lose the details of ideas, inspirations, and plans that you haven’t taken the time to jot down. Writing will save you time by preventing you from wracking your brains to recall information stored somewhere in your memory.
Reason #2: Writing enables you to articulate, clarify, and refine your ideas.
Often, when information is still in the thinking stage in your mind, it’s not entirely clear. Writing them down makes them more concrete and tangible. It becomes easier for you to visualize them as a whole and identify potential interactions between them.
Reason #3: Writing helps you sort things out.
Once ideas are on paper, it’s easier to discern the important from the trivial. You can establish action categories: to do, delegate, postpone, plan, etc.
Reason #4: Writing allows you to step back and increases your level of awareness.
By writing, you analyze and organize your thoughts. You also become aware of your scope of action and the extent of what you need to do. This makes it easier to determine what can be done immediately and what should be done later.
Reason #5: Writing makes it easier for you to take action.
Simply taking a pencil or pen and a notepad and sitting down to write your goals, define action plans for your projects, is already a significant step towards achieving what matters to you. Writing truly acts as the bridge connecting intention to action.
Reason #6: Writing helps you better identify your needs and expectations.
As Boileau said, “What is well conceived is clearly expressed, and the words to say it come easily.” Taking the time to write brings clarity to your ideas. Consequently, it becomes easier to express your needs and identify the necessary resources to fulfill them.
Reason #7: Writing allows you to plan your activities and prioritize.
In terms of organization and time management, there are generally two types of profiles: improvisers and planners. Improvisers typically operate without an agenda. While everyone can improvise, making it a lifestyle can make it challenging to have an organized life.
On the contrary, planners take the time to note their activities and tasks in their agenda or schedule, define deadlines, and prioritize. Planning is also a form of writing that projects you into action. After reviewing these reasons, it is now appropriate to explore the possible writing formats you can use to organize yourself and better manage your time.
There are generally two categories of solutions you can use: paper-based solutions and electronic solutions.
Paper-based solutions: Various supports of different sizes and shapes can be used.
- Notebook/Notepad: For a very structured and professional use, you can opt for an organizer-type notebook. The advantage of this type of notebook is that it has movable colored dividers and detachable sheets, facilitating the sorting and organization of information.
- Agenda: Agendas allow you to schedule your different events, activities, and tasks (personal, family, professional, etc.). They are practical for helping you organize. Most of them even include school holidays, facilitating the planning of family activities.
- To-do list: These are lists of tasks you can create yourself to manage your daily activities. They complement your agenda and are easy to set up. You simply need to take a blank sheet of paper, or even your notepad or organizer, and list all the tasks to be done for the day. It will be up to you to follow this list throughout the day, checking off tasks as you complete them.
- Post-it: These are small, square or rectangular, self-adhesive colored sheets grouped into small blocks. They serve as reminders, allowing you to note actions you have to take and don’t want to forget. To ensure you remember, stick them in a place where you can easily see them.
Electronic solutions: Two types can be distinguished: electronic calendars/agendas and mobile productivity applications.
- Smartphone calendars: All smartphones have a “calendar” feature. You can plan your week by scheduling various activities. It is possible to set reminders if you deem it necessary.
- Email agendas: In addition to the “email” feature, email accounts such as Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo have a “calendar” feature that also allows you to schedule your activities. For efficiency, you can synchronize this calendar with your smartphone’s calendar. This allows you to access your schedule without being connected to your email account.
- Mobile applications: All mobile platforms (Apple, Android, and Windows) abound with mobile applications dedicated to productivity. However, it should be noted that Apple and Android platforms offer more choices.
There are many paid applications, but there are also free ones. I have identified three that I use and that you can also adopt: Gtasks, Wunderlist, and Evernote.
- Gtasks: It is a simple but very effective task manager. It allows you to create task lists, set deadlines and reminders, and customize them. Equipped with a microphone function, the application allows you to dictate your task, and it takes care of writing it with considerable precision. Moreover, you can synchronize your tasks with the Gmail Tasks extension.
- Wunderlist: This application allows you to easily manage your task lists. It organizes your tasks by categories. You can also set deadlines and reminders, receiving notification reminders for task completion. Wunderlist also offers the possibility to share your task lists and collaborate with friends, family, or colleagues.
- Evernote: It is an intelligent application that allows you to jot down ideas, record sounds, and save photos. Your data is stored on the internet, and you can access it at any time from your computer, phone, or tablet. Thanks to its features, you can organize and categorize your information, and you also have the option to share it with friends or colleagues.
These three applications are just examples and may not suit you. In this case, I invite you to research on the mentioned platforms; you may find others more suitable for your needs.
This text is an excerpt from the book “5 steps to (re)take control of your TIME and your life” written by Henri M. Missola