Taking notes should be a no brainer, but do we really follow through?

I usually deal with dozens of people asking me to do things every day. It could be the smallest favor or a gigantic task, I have to get every single one of them done. But here’s the tricky part, I don’t always write them down. I keep thinking that I’ll remember it and get it done. Most times, when I don’t write it down, I don’t do it.

But why don’t I write it down? Shouldn’t it be common sense that we write everything down? It is, but there is also a fighting force that leads us to not do it: We get lazy. The extra work it takes to carry a notepad, pen, and when the moment comes; the mental energy needed to actually make a note of things. It’s just extra work, it’s boring, and we tend to avoid those things.

So what are the consequences of not writing things down?

We may think that by not writing things down we’re saving mental energy that can be used for other things. Although this may be true at that very moment, you will pay for it with much more exhaustion in the future. “I’ll remember it, I’ll get it done,” is something we may tell ourselves. But when the moment comes that your boss or client asks for that deliverable and we forgot about it; hence forgot to do it, we end up paying for it a much greater costs.

The amount of stress that we get afterwards greatly outweighs the mental energy that we saved by not writing it down in the first place. Not only that, living in that kind of dangerous habit will also weigh you down. Knowing that you don’t write things down and that at any moment you’ll remember a task that you were suppose to get done at an earlier time. It’s exhausting.

Speaking from experience, mental energy isn’t the only thing on the line. Forgetting to do tasks can lead to monetary loses. For example, you may have a parking ticket due at the end of the month. You forget to write it down somewhere and the month passes by. That $60 dollar ticket now becomes a $100 dollar ticket. The same goes for bills and expenses.

Paper or Digital?

It really doesn’t matter where you take your notes as long as you take them. Some may argue that keeping a note taking app can help you as your data is saved on the cloud. Whilst this is true, some people just can’t get used to digital note taking. Like myself, some people need the feeling of ink on paper to feel productive. Sure, if I ever lose my Moleskin I’m screwed. But here’s where digital can help. I can take photos of my notepad at end of day or week and, alas, my information is safe against loss.

However, If you’re going with the digital route, you’re going to have a dilemma. That being which note taking app is the best or which cloud service to use. There a tons of apps and cloud services to use. Some may use One Note, Keep, Ever note and back their data up with One drive, Google, or Dropbox. It’s really a preference what you use, as long as you stick to it and avoid using others. What you don’t want are your notes spread across different apps and cloud service.

That feeling when all your tasks and thoughts are written down

I’m not going to lie: It’s a great feeling. Knowing that you can go back to your notes and see all your pending tasks. The feeling you get when nothing has escaped your grasps. You’re more productive and less stressed.

It’s a continuous effort to write everything down, but the rewards are there, and they’re high. Sure, you have to carry your notepad around or have your note taking app ready for the next job. It has to become a disciplined habit to do it. Just remember that not writing things down is also a habit, a bad one at that. If we’re going to build habits, lets make sure they’re habits that benefit our lives. Writing every single thing down is one of the best habits we can do to better our personal and professional lives.

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