When I was younger I had trouble paying attention. I've always been a spacey person, unable to hold on to a single thought for very long. I'd tell a story, only to end up going on so many different tangents that I never reach any conclusions. At one point my teacher gave me a tape recorder to record his lessons because I couldn't pay attention during class.
Being this way has its positives—it has made me a very fluid and creative person—but it has its negatives as well. For most of my life I have lacked all discipline and organization.
But, we all play the cards we are dealt, so I found a solution to my problem.
Write It Down
I started writing things down to help my memory, but I realized that there are a multitude of benefits that come from writing down your reminders, goals, and thoughts.
A thought is not something that you can grasp and it will often be forgotten, but when you write it down, you bring it into a tangible and permanent existence.
I have found three major ways to improve my life through writing. I'm confident that once you start writing things down, your life will move in the direction of your aspirations faster than it ever has.
And not only that, you'll never forget to pick up the milk again—which brings us to our first point.
Write Lists And Notes For Memory
I have a horrible memory. I've actually forgotten my aunt's and uncle's names before. Don't tell them I said that.
Remembering is hard work. Your brain has to encode information, then retrieve it at a later date. I don't know about you but I like to give my brain a break whenever I can. It does literally everything for me so I feel like it deserves a break.
Before you go shopping, write a list. Better yet, write it throughout the week as you go. This way, when you leave the store you will know that you have everything you need.
Although it is embarrassing to forget the milk, that isn't the only time notes are useful.
I write notes for just about everything. The books I read, YouTube videos I watch, the names of my neighbours, everything. Once I write something down it gives me a sense of relief. I no longer have to worry that I won't be able to retrieve that information from the depths of my cluttered mind.
Writing notes and lists will make people think you have memory super powers. Try it out.
Write Schedules For Productivity
Just as writing a note helps you remember it, writing a schedule helps you stick to it.
When you get into the productive mood and you are thinking about all the things you are going to accomplish, it's a great feeling. But if you are anything like me, that feeling doesn't last forever.
You wake up the next day, and you don't have that same enthusiasm. You are in a different mind-state and you can't be bothered to think about all those things you wanted to accomplish.
Studies have shown that writing down a schedule helps you stick to your plans more so than if you don't have specified times for tasks. It's easy to understand why.
The first step to making any vision a reality—whether it's a vision for your life, or just one for your day—is to give it permanence by writing it down. That way when your mood changes, you will have a reminder from yourself of what is important.
Write A Journal For Reflection
The last way I would encourage you to bring writing into your life is through a journal.
Notes and lists help you remember, schedules help you become organized and efficient, but journaling helps you to recognize patterns in your thoughts.
We have thoughts that come and go and we might not realize how often we go through certain thought patterns.
Journaling allows you to see the patterns in your thoughts over time and reflect on them.
If you have an issue that bothers you, you might not think it is a problem because you brush off the thoughts whenever they surface. But when you read through your journal, you realize that you have these thoughts frequently.
This ability to record your thoughts helps you see patterns in the otherwise fluid process which you cannot hold on to.
This type of reflection is a life changer. You discover the your innermost wants, fears, anxieties and values all through journaling.
I write every day, and each time I do it benefits me. I remember more, do more, reflect more and become more than I would without it.
If you are looking to get a big reward from a small practice, start writing everything down and watch your life transform.
You can thank me later.