Stop Lying to Yourself, Just Write it Down

Are you one of those smart people who don’t write things down because you can remember everything? I too was in that group who considered themselves smart. As my business grew, I found myself extremely frustrated because I was missing deadlines, forgetting important tasks, and making careless errors.

At that time, I realized if I want to get things done efficiently, then I need to stop lying to myself and start writing things down.

Write it Down
You see, there is no shame in taking notes. It doesn’t make you look stupid if you have a big white board to keep things organized. What does make you look stupid is when you forget a client meeting, or miss a major deadline because you forgot about the project.

Writing things down has many advantages. It has allowed me to improve my lifestyle as well as my business.

You can’t Prioritize without Organizing

Some people say that they don’t take notes because it’s a waste of time. Actually, its quite the opposite. If you want to manage your time better and get things done, then you need to learn how to prioritize.

You can’t prioritize without organizing. With so many things going on in life, business, internet, world, etc, it’s hard to organize things in your head.

I find that writing things down allows me to stay organized. By organizing and prioritizing, I can delegate tasks accordingly and make the best use of my time.

Don’t underestimate the power of Visual Reinforcement

When I picked up the habit of taking notes, I would take notes on a notepad. The other half of my notes lived in my computer Sticky Notes. To keep everything centralized, I then started using Evernote. While that helps, I think the best decision I ever made was to get a whiteboard.

My whiteboard allows me to visualize the tasks at hand. I positioned it, so every time I get off my office chair, I have to look at my whiteboard.

Every morning before I start working, I write down the to-do list for the day. As I get done with each task, I get the instant gratification of crossing it out. You can call this silly, but it is actually very rewarding.

Over the years, I’ve upgraded my whiteboard. Now I’ve a 8 feet wide whiteboard. All I can say is that the visual reinforcement has significantly impacted my productivity.

P.S. Don’t buy crazy expensive whiteboards. Just go to HomeDepot or Lowes and get a white panel board. It will cost around $35. See this video. Alternatively, you can also use the whiteboard paint.

Reminder to Make a Reminder

There are times when you don’t have the time to write things down. For example when you’re at a conference and someone mentions of a really neat resource. Thanks to Siri in my iPhone, I can set a reminder to remind me to write things down at the end of the day, so I can maximize my time networking rather than looking up resources and writing things down.

In short, writing things down allows you to stay on top of your game. You’re engaged, you can capture great ideas, solve problems faster, and most importantly better manage your time.

Are you lying to yourself or do you write things down? Share your methods by leaving a comment below.

  • Chris Wiegman

    Thanks Syed. This is one of the most true posts I’ve read in a while. For my it was Evernote and Wunderkit (instead of a whiteboard) that helped me keep organize and not miss things but regardless of the tool folks need to be realistic about their own memories.

    • Christine

      Agreed! Evernote is such a lifesaver for me. As is Trello most recently. Those two applications help me keep myself and my team organized, up-to-date on projects, and on time.

      Great post. Glad you shared this Chris.

      • Syed Balkhi

        Thank you for leaving a comment Christine. Agreed, Evernote is awesome.

        • Ali Mese

          It is so interesting to read this post now as I was one of those people who rejected to take notes and yesterday I finally started using Evernote :) And today I am reading this post :) I guess writing down helps also to make your goals concrete and it become your self promise to yourself. Thanks for the great post, Syed.

    • Syed Balkhi

      Thanks Chris. I need to try out Wunderkit :)

      • Naeem Noor

        Wunderkit is now replaced by Wunderlist 2, you should try it :)

  • Muhammad Arslan

    NIce thoughts. Writing always helps a lot in all most every way.

  • Noumaan Yaqoob

    I always keep a notepad near by and it really helps to write down things manually on a paper. However, most of the time I don’t really use it as much as I should. I think I should write it down right now that I will take it more seriously now.

    • Syed Balkhi

      Think of it as well-documented code. When you look at that, it makes improving, fixing bugs, making changes, etc very easy.

      Now imagine if you can do that with your life :)

  • Hamna Abobaker

    Your post is very well. Yes you say right all thing. I have use Sticky Notes now on my computer. I will buy a whiteboard soon.

  • Faisal

    It was a great post, when you start writing it becomes your habbit.

  • Michael Wilson

    For Web articles, voice notes, screenshots Evernote is my thing on the other hand for small bits I use Iphones default notes and ANY.Do for reminders.

  • Geoff Livingston

    Oh man, I so did this yesterday. I completely whiffed on an idea, and forgot it. Now it’s bugging the hell out of me.

  • Joyce Cherrier

    I’m at the point where I need a serious organizational intervention. Love the idea of whiteboard and crossing off tasks. I’ve tried Evernote but it didn’t seem to be a fit for me. Thanks for suggestion Syed!

    • Syed Balkhi

      Joyce, try with a small whiteboard first. I’m sure you’ll love it. Then you’ll realize you want a bigger one for better visualization :)

  • Eric Blackwell

    Hey Syed;

    Thanks for the reminder. It is something I know will help but knowing it and doing it are different things. Thanks for the swift kick in the butt that I need. ;-)

    • Syed Balkhi

      Yup, knowing and doing are very different. The trick to get started: Don’t say that you will do this tomorrow. Start right now, and you will get going :)

  • Suzanna Keith

    Great post! Nothing is more satisfying than checking off the handwritten to do list!

    • Syed Balkhi

      Amen to that :)

  • Lauren

    Yep. What I do is if I’m writing down notes during a meeting, I asterisk anything that needs action taken. Then I bring everything back to my desk and put all asterisk items into a task manager for scheduling. I use Outlook at work and Todoist at home. (Todoist I can access on my phone as well.) Both are life savers. And I never trust myself to remember anything.

  • Tommy

    My grandfather told me that a long pencil was always better than a short memory.

  • Zeshan

    Hi Syed,

    Thanks for such a great post. I am in the same situation right now as you were in. Writing things down is in itself a perfect thing.

    I have tried a lot of time to manage my time perfectly, but the habit is made totally differently.

    Projects are on deadlines, clients are angry and some do cancel it.
    I think this post will surely help me to manage my time wisely.

    Thanks Syed.