Imagine this scenario – you visit the supermarket, you buy the things you need, and you return back home. When you are back home, you suddenly remember that you forgot to buy a few other things that you needed. I’m sure something like this has happened to you too.
We are bombarded with a lot of information in a day. We do, see, hear, and speak a lot of things every day. Whether you are at work or at home, you have to deal with different moments. When you are at work, your boss asks you to complete this assignment, your supervisor wants you to solve that problem, you attend meetings, you call your clients, so on and so forth. At home, you have to clean your room, feed your cat, mow the lawn, take a nap, call your friend, wish your cousin “happy birthday”, so on and so forth.
How much can our tiny little brain keep up? How can we be able to do all these things in a single day?
See here’s the thing – nobody’s perfect. You can not do all the things and be 100% good at them. Unless you are a superhuman. Well, I don’t think that would help either.
Let’s talk about productivity. From what I understand, productivity is when you are able to do the things that you need to do and get good outcomes out of them.
How can you be more productive? By being able to do more things. But again, how will be able to do more things? By remembering to do them. You cannot be good at doing something if you don’t remember to do it at all. However, it’s not going to be called productive if you are only doing it for the sake of doing it. Remember that the outcome has to be good as well.
So the question now is – how do we remember all of the things that we need to do to become more productive?
Write it down.
Yes, write it down. That is the #1 hack of being able to do more. You don’t need any magic tricks or do something extraordinary. Write down the things that you have to do, doesn’t matter if they are simple things or something big. This is something that I do every day and I know it works because I know other people who don’t do it and are less productive than me.
Whenever your boss tells you to finish the assignment, write it down. Your supervisor asks you to do solve that problem, write it down. You have a meeting at 2 pm, WRITE IT DOWN!!!
Benefits of Writing
Writing what you have to not only helps you remember to do it but it also makes you feel good once you have done it.
You might be thinking that I’m asking you to make a “To-do List”. What I’m saying is a little different than a to-do list. How? When you make a to-do list, you simply list down the things that you need to do within a certain time. But more importantly, you already know the things you have to do when you make a to-do list.
What I mean by “write it down” is that you have to write down the things as they come along. At work, you might not know about that meeting you had today. Maybe it was an unplanned meeting. Or, maybe your boss gave you an assignment that was not part of your day’s work. She asked you to finish it by 4 pm today. In such scenarios, writing them down as they come along helps you stay intact about them.
Writing down doesn’t necessarily represent only the things you have to do and it doesn’t have to be only about work. You can write down ideas, thoughts, inspirations, and so forth. Suppose you are a filmmaker and you suddenly had this amazing idea to make a video about. Write it down. If you are a writer and you had an idea for a blog post. Write it down. Don’t just write down the idea or topic, write down whatever that comes to your head. There are no specific rules. You can also draw an image or chart instead of writing it down in words. That’s good. Whatever helps you understand your idea better.
Use These Techniques
There are a lot of different ways you can write to remember things. I carry a notebook with me whenever I’m at work or I’m at home. I write things as they come into my head or as somebody tells me. Whenever I’m outside where I do not have my notebook, I write it down on my phone in the Notes app. I also carry a pocket notebook with me.
Again, there is no specific technique that you have to use here. Do whatever works for you. You can also use other alternatives to writing, such as taking pictures and setting reminders. Here are some techniques you can follow.
- Carry a notebook
- Use your phone
- Take pictures, videos, and screenshots
- Email yourself
- Use reminders
- Keep a Journal
1. Carry a Notebook
I always carry a notebook with me. I have separate notebooks for work, for when I am at home and a small pocket notebook just in case. Whatever work I have to do, I write it down in my notebook every day.
I write to-do lists, things I have to remember, credentials, notes, ideas, journals, so on and so forth. There are no limitations to what I write. But I write work-related stuff and personal stuff in separate notebooks. Carrying a notebook has allowed me to remember things, complete my work on time, learn new stuff, and overall, have a productive life.
Here’s a picture of my notebooks. The first is my work notebook, which I carry with me at my office. The second one is where I write down my goals and other personal stuff. And, the third one is where I write basically anything I want. I keep that one at home. I also have a pocket notebook as you can see in the picture. I carry that one wherever I go.
2. Use Your Phone
Our phones are with us all the time. Smartphones these days have all kinds of tools and apps to take notes. Using a note app shouldn’t be that big of a deal. So even if you don’t have a notebook with you, you can use your phone to write stuff down.
I do this often. Whenever I find inspiration or have to write something important and I don’t have my notebook with me, I use the in-built Notes app on my phone. This way, I never miss anything important. Apps like Trello and Evernote can also come in handy if you are looking for a multi-feature tool.
You can also use Voice Memos and record yourself speak if that helps.
3. Take Pictures, Videos, and Screenshots
Another good way to remember something is by taking pictures or videos. Again, smartphones these days, they all have cameras in them. Use the camera to capture things that are important like documents, events, books, or whatever.
Taking screenshots is also a good way to keep track of things. If you find something interesting while scrolling your social media or while reading a good article, take a screenshot of them as a reminder. You can directly save or download pictures and videos too.
Here’s a screenshot of screenshots from my phone. As you can see I keep a lot of these so that I do not forget the things that are important.
4. Email Yourself
Again, this is something I do very often. I do this whenever I find good articles/ideas and I don’t have to read them at the moment. I also send reminders of events to myself. Later, I will filter out the inbox to find all the emails that I have sent to myself and read them.
Here’s how my filtered inbox looks like. I send a lot of emails to myself. As you can see from the subject lines, I mostly send article links to myself, so that I read them later on. I also send website links, attachments, and reminders as emails to myself.
5. Use Reminders
Whenever there is an event coming or there is something you have to do in the near future, set a reminder for yourself. You can use reminder apps on your phone to do so. Or, you can send an email to yourself as I described in the previous point. Setting reminders is a good way to keep track of things you have to do.
6. Keep a Journal
Journalling is done to keep track of things that you have done rather than reminding yourself to do certain things. It can help keep your memory sharp and remind you of the things in the past, good and bad. If it is a good memory, it will make you feel good whenever you read it in the future. If it is a bad one, you can learn from it and become a better version of yourself.
Keep experimenting with different ways to keep track of the important things that are going on in your life. It doesn’t always have to be a work-relating thing. Don’t limit yourself to the techniques I have described. Instead, find your own unique ways to help you become more productive.
Writing everything down has made a big impact on my productivity and my memory. Try this for a week – carry a notebook or use your phone to write whatever you think is important, whether it is an idea, event, to-do list, or whatever. You can also take pictures and screenshots, whatever works for you. See how it impacts your memory and productivity. And, also see how you feel after you have completed or accomplished the thing you wrote it down.
Go on – WRITE IT DOWN.