For a while now I’ve been mentioning the importance of lists. I’ve even created a product to help parents out when they travel as a family, which is a packing list. This time of year, lists are even more relevant in our lives – there’s just so much going on, it’s hard to keep track of everything. After having a Twitter volley with two other moms about how lists are life-savers, I thought I’d write a post about it, focusing on exactly why they are so relevant.
It’s the act of writing things down that is more significant than the actual list itself. Lists just look better and are a form of visual organization. I often walk around my house with notes to myself written on my hand if my mind is extra active that day or I write it on a sticky note. From mid-December until mid-January, you will see an over-abundance of lists and notes around the house keeping me on target for Christmas presents, class parties, my oldest son’s friends’ birthday parties, my 3 y.o.’s, my 7 y.o.’s, and my hub’s birthdays (January 3rd, 6th, and 12th, respectively), travel plans, New Year’s goals, chores, bills, and everything else in between. I try not to dwell on how anything gets done. Day by day, I just do it.
So what is it about lists or writing things down that makes them so significant and allow us to be more productive when we use them? After doing a little bit of research, I found out that writing things down is more scientific than I thought. According to research, writing things down stimulates cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). This system acts as a filter for what the brain needs for processing. When the RAS is triggered (by the writing), it sends a signal to the cerebral cortex to focus on what you’ve deemed as most important at the moment. Hence, and there forth, what you wrote down is what gets done. Hmm! Good stuff. Did you know that?
Point of this post: To keep stress at bay, get things done, and be on your merry way – Write it down and make a list!