In the praise of writing things down

I’ve been a big fan of planning but I was not good at executing. I’ve created countless study timetables that I didn’t stuck to, and failed to check off everything on my to do list most of the times. However, during all these years of studying and keeping track of everything has taught me that planning is an essential step, even if you end up not executing the plan completely.

If you write it down, you are more than likely to start

Let me explain. Suppose you want to study a chapter from textbook that sounds really dull(and hard). You don’t feel like it. If you’re given all control and no deadline, you are more than likely to put it off completely. Now imagine this, before going to bed(or earlier in the day) you write on a piece of paper or your journal that you will study that chapter. It creates a mental note of having the desire to complete that task. You may actually pick up the book just to look at what this chapter is actually about, not with the intention of studying but just to get an idea of what this task of studying may involve(out of curiosity). Maybe you’ll put it down after a glance but you are more likely to continue reading it even if you don’t feel like it and before you know you’ve completed the first section(or more). The act of having a written note to yourself gives you a slight push and creates a mental pressure that you should be doing it.

Guilt can be Healthy

That pressure for me goes away after a while but while it lasts, it causes me to do at least something related to the task that I’ve been meaning to do. For example, I would love to exercise everyday, in theory. Practically I almost never do. But when I write it down in my bullet journal a day before, the next morning the first thing I’m thinking is that I need to exercise. Even if I don’t exercise, I do take a walk or stretch a little, just in order to get rid of the guilt. Guilt is not healthy, but it can push you to do things you should be doing. I sometimes end up helping my mum do housework and that is exhausting and boring but that gives me a sense of doing something, something that might count as a light exercise. Sometimes, it is more than a light exercise because I end up doing all the cleaning, certainly more than I first intended but I am happy at the end because it does count as a workout in my mind.

Your Mindset will change

The mere act of writing things to do or things I need to deal with creates a chain reaction and nudges me to get started. Once you get started, you can gain momentum and finish the task or make some progress at the very least. Therefore, I always make a to do list before bed/ before a trip/ before school even if I know I may not do it because I know that I might actually get started. When I review at night, it surprises me how much I actually get done! Sometimes I end up finishing everything on the list or even more, without realizing it. But if I had not written it down, I might as well have forgotten it all. I have realized that writing things down has an effect on your mindset for the day.

Once you get started, you have finite chance of finishing the task. But if you don’t get started, you won’t finish the task, 100% of the time.

Write things you are putting off, things that you need to deal with, even if you don’t think you will.


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