The Magic of Writing It Down

I was going to write a “love list” post today, because there are just oodles of things that I’m loving right now. My life is currently summery and lovely, and so many new things are making me happy (read: iced coffee), and I wanted to record them, for posterity’s sake. But then, as I sat down to write the list, this post decided it wanted to be written, and who am I to say no? So.

The magic of writing it down. I should probably put a disclaimer up front: I have no idea whether this “technique” will have the same effects for you as it does for me (and my Mom – hi Mom!). Second disclaimer: as a topic, this one is painfully obvious, so I’ll try to keep it short. Third disclaimer: I’m definitely not trying to re-invent the wheel here, I’ve just been recently noticing the beautiful, simple magic of writing things down.

It’s obvious, really: when we write things down, they come to the front of our minds and hover around in our consciousness. Meaning, we don’t forget them. First step to getting things done? Not forgetting you have to do them.

But the really great part about writing it down is that suddenly something takes over in me. I might write down that I have to do some unpleasant task (such as buy toilet paper) and be thinking about putting it off until the last available second, when suddenly I have my shoes on and a shopping bag in hand, booking it to the nearest store. I might write down that my editor really wants an article that I promised I’d start a week ago (and didn’t write down, and forgot about), and an hour and a half later I’m emailing her saying it’s submitted for review. I’ll write down I have to print more tax forms and sign them, and next thing you know I’m SWAK-ing them off to my Mama, no problemo.

I think you get the picture. The point is, with me, it’s not so revolutionary to write things down because then I won’t forget. It’s revolutionary because as soon as I write them down, they become important, non-negotiable, priorities. I move into autopilot, I get them done. My trusty agenda is starting to seem like a magical spell book: once something gets recorded, it’s as good as done. I try not to question the mechanism behind this too much, because that’d be like playing with fire. And of course, there’s some flexibility: for example, less important/urgent things sometimes get recorded and not accomplished, but they still stay at the forefront of my mind to be completed another week.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share this little bit of magic that I have in my life. I think one way to explain it is that by writing something down, I re-frame it as important and do my very best to get it done. Perhaps you can achieve this same re-framing with another method. Anything we can do to stay motivated, this close to the end of the school year, right?

Happy Monday.

2 thoughts on “The Magic of Writing It Down”

  1. I’m the same way! Things suddenly gain importance when I’ve written them on a sticky note and stuck it somewhere that I see it constantly. When I sit down at my computer for a quick second to check email, I look at the sticky note on my desk and suddenly I’m doing the discussions for my online classes. I don’t want to jinx myself by saying it’s almost foolproof but…

    1. Exactly! It’s like a mysterious process that I don’t wanna mess with. But it works so well. I’m glad someone out there understands :) It’s just a way of making things more important! The sticky note is something I should use more. Very good technique.

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