Importance of writing things down

I’ve lost the habit of writing things down. I can type faster than I can write these days, which is appropriate since I am a coder by profession. I used to write a lot when I was a student, whether it was jotting down notes or making time tables, or just practicing questions. And when I shifted to digital, I thought that it would be a much better way of doing things. Boy was I wrong.

One of the biggest issues I have had since I started working is how to manage my daily tasks. I tried every tool possible. I made excel sheets, I tried a lot of to-do list apps. None of them gave me what I wanted. My goal was to find a tool that would make task management easier. But using these tools got complicated after a while, and became a task in itself.

When I got back to my hometown, I found an empty diary. It was the kind of hardcover diaries that I used to write stuff down when I was at school. So I thought I would give this primitive task management system another try. Just a paper and a pen. And the results have been amazing so far.

At the start of the day, I go through my emails and IM’s and list down the tasks for the day in the diary. If at any point of the day someone calls me and asks me for something, that goes in the diary as well. At any point, if I am not sure what I should be working on, a single glance at the diary would help. I can underline things, make sidenotes, circle the important stuff. It’s just too easy.

Now I know you would say that there are plenty of apps out there where you could do the same thing. But there’s something about physically picking up a pen and writing something down. The task is just an idea when it is in your head, once you write it down it becomes something concrete. Maybe it’s just psychological, but a typed outline just doesn’t have that same effect.

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