The Miracle Power of The To Do List

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Do you find yourself constantly worrying about what needs to be done tomorrow?  Next week?
 
Do you keep running lists in your brain all the time? Constantly rotating between checking them off and adding them on?

Guess what?  You are absolutely destroying your productivity!

 

When we hold thoughts in our conscious mind we limit our cognitive ability to function… and even worse we could potentially be destroying one of the most important functions of the conscious mind = Filtration.

 

Let me explain:

 

A quick neuro lesson

 

We have what we will call for this quick example - 2 brains:
  1. Conscious
  2. Sub Conscious
-Yes I know you’ve read about that before
But do you understand the function of each?  I’ll explain the concept of the two brains by use of a garden metaphor.

 

Think of your brain as a garden of beautiful, rich, soil.  Now, soil doesn’t care what seeds we plant within it - it will love and nurture them and grow them into whatever they should be.  Essentially to the soil (our subconscious mind), every seed we plant is perfect and will be grown to the best of it’s ability.

 

In this metaphor, the seeds are your thoughts and those thoughts that enter your subconscious mind are received the same way whether they are good thoughts or fucking terrible thoughts - whether those thoughts are of “I’m awesome and every day is great” or “I’m a turd and everyone hates me…”

 

It doesn’t matter - the subconscious mind will go to work either way bringing about those things in life that you think about most often.

 

Now here's this kicker - The conscious mind is like a bodyguard of thoughts - it controls who gets into this beautiful garden and it filters out shitty thoughts (seeds) - (or at least it’s supposed to).

 

But did you know that your conscious mind at any point can only hold 7 pieces of information?

 

This is why phone numbers are 7 digits.  Still with me?  This is known as Miller’s Law.

 

So if we can only hold 7 pieces of information at any time and most of your day you spend looping your to do list and thinking about things that aren’t happening to you now - worrying about this and that…. now you are starting to get it.  That’s right - by distracting your conscious mind with trivial “busy work” you bridle your subconscious; quite literally the most powerful machine there is.

 

Ok - got it, WTF does this have to do with a to do list?

 

Write the stuff down!  If it is floating around in your head the moment it gets written down it’s like taking an eraser to the blackboard of your conscious mind - freeing it up to be more present and to allow you… to kick more ass.

 

But I wouldn’t leave you without the most awesome to do list strategy I’ve found (it’s old af).

 

 

TLDR:

 

  • At the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  • Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  • When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  • Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  • Repeat this process every working day.

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