Mental vs. Written vs. Honey-Do
The infamous To-Do List…
I think we all know about this nifty little tool in our lives. There are different kinds of To-Do lists: the Mental List, the Written List, and the all time favorite, Honey Do List. All of these can be effective tools, although, they do differ in their effectiveness.
The “Mental List”
This list is used by all of us. We all ponder over the things we want to get done, the things we need to get done, and the things we wish we could get done. The main problem with the Mental List is its vastness. It can be as big as our minds will allow it to be. The Mental List, along with its vastness, is usually not as organized as it should be and can be overwhelming. It is ever-changing and forming to meet our immediate needs.
The flexibility of the Mental List is another of its downfalls. We can easily place obstacles in our own way. We can all find reasons, or excuses, why we can’t get something done. On this list, it is far too easy to put things off until tomorrow. With the Mental List we often retreat to the comfort of our own mind, where we justify our actions with the very secure feeling that someday these things will be done, and when they are, all things will be okay. This shows the ineffectiveness of the Mental List. A good friend of mine once told me “The Mental List is wonderful…….a wonderful waste of time.”
The “Written List”
This is the most effective of all the To-Do lists. Its simplicity is its most powerful characteristic. It is not as easily changed as the Mental List.
The Written List is firm and works best if kept brief and prioritized. One of the best features of the Written List is the act of crossing off items as they are completed. Not only are things getting done, but you see the list getting smaller. This simple reward of a shrinking list has a very large impact on your subconscious mind. Your mind will then motivate you to do the next task, as it loves to be rewarded.
Another advantage of the Written List is that your creation of obstacles is more difficult. If there is, in fact, an obvious obstacle to a particular task, it is best to write down that obstacle as its own task. A good example of this happened to me recently. I had to rake the leaves from my yard but before I could do that I had to buy a new rake. I simply put that obstacle on my To-Do list as “Buy a new rake.” Once that was completed, I had no reason NOT to rake the leaves from my yard. One easy step….two things off the list! If I were using the Mental List I could have easily put this off until the snow flew. The Written List holds you accountable to yourself, and it works.
The “Honey Do List”
This list can come in two forms, the verbal and the written. I’m sure most of us would prefer to hear the Verbal List. Why? Simple; as with the Mental List, it can easily be overcome by merely stating that you forgot or some other lame excuse. This may work a few times but, more often than not, the author of this verbal list will quickly recognize their error and present you, as if by magic, a Written List.
Now you have two lists. That in itself, can become overwhelming. The easy remedy to this situation is to move the things from the Honey-Do List to your Written List.
I must admit I was a victim of the Mental List strategy. My wife, on the other hand, has used the Written List exclusively for years. The difference was she was getting things done and I was simply talking a big game, with no real results. She did try to convert me many times, but I held fast to my beliefs and paid the consequences with constant inefficiency. The why, when and how to all of this can be learned and fine tuned by simply visiting www.goalsmentor.com and enrolling in their straightforward course. The fact is, she finally convinced me to try it. I now use the Written List and it works like a charm.