The power of thinking on paper

Leaders are readers but they are also writers! Great leaders write down their goals and make them plain and we can learn a lot from them on this topic because we all have goals we want accomplished in our work and personal lives and great examples of people who accomplish goals that we look to are in leadership positions. Too many people go through life overwhelmed most of the time because they have too much on their mind. So a great way to reduce stress, from overwhelming situations we find ourselves in, is to write down our thoughts and to-do’s which I have found really frees the mind and helps me get a lot more done without “hustling” harder.

In my late teens and early 20’s I started a journey of listening to a lot of successful people who have said there is a sort of magic to thinking on paper because once you write down to-do lists and goals, you take those items more seriously and your brain goes to work to keep you on task consciously and subconsciously. Also keeping a journal where you write down what happened that day helps your mind close out that day with all of the emotions tied to it so your mind is clear for the next day. Also physically writing down what needs to be done helps you remember to do it. There are a lot of scientific studies that dive deeper into this topic of what actually happens in your brain when you “think on paper” but I won’t get into that in this article.

So after listening to people talk about this idea of writing your thoughts and to-do’s down, who actually did it and had great results, inspired me to buy a journal. So in my early 20’s I started this journey where I wrote to-do lists and kept a daily journal and found I got more accomplished, had more energy, and I felt my life moving forward in a forward direction. I learned that if I wanted to get more to-do’s accomplished, what I needed was to write down my to-do’s early that morning or better yet the prior evening instead of keeping it in my mind. This helped me to navigate my day and be more efficient with my time and energy. Now sure more important issues came up after I wrote down my to-do list for the day but I would just add the item to my list and assign a number to it listing its priority. Whenever I make long to-do lists I always try to break them down into my top 3 priorities. After I get those 3 accomplished, I crossed them out and numbered 3 more and so on. This helps make lists to be more palatable because I don’t want the list to be overwhelming.

Now I will say I have not always kept a journal like I want, but when I do write down my day and my next day’s to-do’s, what I have said in the last paragraph does happen. So if you feel overwhelmed don’t be average but be weird and do something different like keeping a journal and a list of goals and to-do’s and see if that relieves you of being overwhelmed. Take the risk because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!