Write It Down, Write It Down!

Personally, I am a big time organizer. I like things to be neat and space efficient, and I like to get things done in a timely manner. (Oh, you’re like that, too? Great, of course you are!) I’m also a big believer in writing things down. I make lists (grocery lists, to do lists, things-I-want-to-save-for lists and all kinds of other lists). I take notes, especially when I research something or when I’m editing a project. I also keep a detailed calendar with upcoming events and due dates. If I forget to write something important down, I usually forget to do it. Basically, my motto is “When in doubt, write it down, write it down.” I’m not just talking about on a computer either. Writing with pen and paper has not lost its place and sometimes it’s necessary to be portable and archival (computers crash and files are lost all the time). Surprisingly enough though, I’ve found that not everyone thinks this is important. There are people with busy lives doing important things who think they can remember everything or organize it all in their head, and when they get frazzled, they wonder why. So what things should you write down and why?

The list could be endless (ha, another list). Anyway, it’s important to first of all save important emails both on and offline or if there’s a lot of extra content you don’t need, you can write down the important points. If there is important communication you will send through email and you’re not sure how to word it, it might be a good idea to write it in a word document or in bullet points first before you send it. This is a great way to work things out. When you’re brainstorming ideas for a new work project or concept, don’t just brainstorm in your head—make some kind of written and visual diagram. You can start with a central idea and branch out points from that, make an outline, or make a list of possibilities and look through them to choose one. You may remember different brainstorming sessions from as early as elementary school and while it seems simple, it’s a life skill. You might make a “to do” list of chores at home and you can do the same thing with tasks you need to complete at work. Put them in priority order (you could do a list for the day or for longer) and break down tasks with multiple steps. This ensures you won’t forget anything and will help you decide whether to tackle one task at a time or work on parts of each project until each one is done.

You can also write down goals (long and short term) and can keep them as reminders and motivation. You can look back and see if you’ve accomplished a goal or how far you’ve gotten towards that goal. Writing things down helps you put them into your memory. When you’re unsure what decision to make or direction to go, writing down the pros and cons along with questions you have is a great method of getting you to decide quicker and make the better choice. It’s also a good practice to write down appointments, meetings, and events as soon as you know about them. Of course, it helps you remember them, but also to plan for them and to know if you need to cancel or reschedule. It shows others you are serious and value your time and theirs. Writing keeps you accountable—there is no longer an excuse not to do something. That’s why we have invoices, contracts, user agreements, and etc, which often start out on paper. You also don’t want to lose track of important ideas because they are fleeting. But knowing that your ideas, goals, and important tasks are written down and safe from forgetfulness makes you less stressed and able to think more clearly.

Take notes during a presentation, class, or meeting. Write down the process of how to do something (such as directions about a process within a website), and keep a record of passwords and usernames. (Even though they can be stored, you might have to change them or log on from a different computer). While there are so many things you can write down and reasons for doing so, I will stop here. But if you’re interested, here is where you can learn more about the power of writing: .

If you’re already in the habit of doing some or most of these things, that’s great; if not, you can see why you may want to start. Writing things down is a simple and efficient way to improve the organization and productivity of your business.