From “To do” to DONE

I believe it is safe to say that most people do not love their “to do” lists. Some people hate or even fear their ever-growing lists of responsibilities and obligations, appointments, chores, and duties. Today’s frantic pace makes it nearly impossible to keep it all readily accessible in your short-term memory. That’s where a good reminder system can be your best friend.

Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “wherever you are, be there.” That’s good advice. Our brains, as amazing as they are, have limits. We need to fully engage our minds at the task at hand in order to do our best. This frees precious brain power.

Everyone is likely to miss a meeting, assignment or deadline now and then. We all need help. From top administrators, to incoming freshmen, we all need to know what to do and when. We need some sort of system to keep us on time and on track.

I wish I could say which reminder system works best. If I had the one-size-fits-all best answer, I’d drop out of Maryville college, spread the word and become a quick multimillionaire. It would help millions of semi-desperate, often frustrated people in all walks of life.

There is no one answer except this: you need something that works for you. The answers are as varied as our personalities. Paper based systems work great for some people. Once you develop the habit of frequently reviewing and updating your lists, you’re on your way to becoming an impressive achiever.

Developing the organizational habits take time and effort. Furthermore, you must be sure to have the lists with you to add new tasks and remove those that are complete. A calendar is a necessary part of any reminder system.

On top of scheduled events, there’s a list of things to do each day and each week. As our responsibilities grow, so do our lists. I find it helps to have lists posted on walls in my home. It is comforting when things get crazy to look at the list and know you haven’t forgotten anything important. For people like myself, with short term memory deficit, these lists are necessary tools in order to function independently.

Most people do not carry a calendar and/ or notebook everywhere they go. However, most do carry smart phones or similar hand-held devices that serve similar functions . The technology actually reminds you that it is time to do something or be somewhere. Whether you use paper, electronics, or a combination, using a system for a while is the only way to know if it will work for you.

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