As of late I’ve been trying my darndest to develop good habits and improve my discipline. This has been a Herculean task for me over the last four years and my failure to adhere to a good work ethic has nearly caused my mental and academic collapse multiple times.
I’ve come to realize though that part of the problem is my own nature – I’m forgetful! I forget almost anything and the trouble only compounds when I have a lot of things to remember. I’ve forgotten things as large as events I have to run to little things like e-mails I have to respond to… and they all add up to create catastrophe.
HOWEVER in my quest to reign it all in and deliver myself from stagnancy I have stumbled upon a system that works! And I’m going to share it with you, for a low low price of… just kidding. Here it is in one step:
1. Maintain a to-do list.
This entails writing down things to do, and making sure you look at it and cross things off.
Here’s the explanation: For everything you want to do, just write it down on the list. Don’t try to keep it all in your head. Write it down and make sure to look at the list. That’s where I always had trouble. I’d make a list but I’d forget to look at it. But remembering to look at a list is one thing versus remembering to do everything I need to do. Deciding to focus solely on that has improved my ability to actually get things done. On top of that as I’ve continued to keep up the habit of keeping a to-do list I’m actually remembering more things thanks to a combination of remembering to add things to the list and the actual process of adding to the list.
Furthermore, remembering the list helps build other habits because whenever there are things I want to do repetitively I just put it on the list every day. And with that habit those things become habits as well.
Funny, I think, but scarily efficient.
Here’s how I do it: I have a Motorola Droid (which I like to take pictures with when I notice something interesting, like this or this) and I downloaded Mobisle Notes, a free app that creates simple but effective To-Do lists. Since I have my phone with me most of the day, whenever I think of something I simply whip out my phone and add it! That way I don’t have to deal with the phenomenon where I think of something but then a two minutes later don’t remember what I thought of. And I get to be productive!