The Three Proven Benefits of Journaling & Writing To-Do Lists

So here’s the thing: even though we’re spending more time with phones, tablets, smart TVs, laptops, PCs and all other kinds of digital toys these days, we’re beginning to lose one of the biggest productivity and creativity tools available: journaling and writing. We’re talking about picking up a pen or pencil and writing down ideas, thoughts, plans, to-do lists, and even just doodling on paper, but not on digital screens. Even though we now have plenty of new tech toys both in our offices and at home, we really need to be writing daily. Here’s why you should be writing regular to-do lists, goals, journal entries, and plans on paper and the products you should be using.  

1. To-do lists make you more productive and organised.

Yes, to-do lists are simple, but they’re also scientifically proven to help with your productivity and planning, but only if you write detailed, target-driven S.M.A.R.T goals that are practical and achievable. Even your biggest problems or challenges can be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks, and that’s where these lists shine. The physical act of writing things down also provides structure, and if you get it right, it will even help motivate you.
Your starting point: Learn how to create better to-do lists here, and invest in a good notebook at a practical, portable size. Combine it with a few comfortable, efficient pens, and you’re sorted (we love the liquid gel rollerball options).

2. Journaling can reduce stress and help improve your mood and mental health.

Research by the University of Rochester has shown that journaling can manage anxiety, reduce stress, and even help people cope with depression. The studies show that journaling helps you control your symptoms and improve your mood by:
  • Helping you prioritise problems, fears, and concerns;
  • Tracking any negative symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognise triggers and learn ways to control them better;
  • Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviours.
One study even showed that when the study subjects wrote about their problems, it reduced stress and even helped their bodies recover more quickly from injury!
Your starting point: Start your writing habit with this Beginner’s Guide to Journaling, and buy yourself a journal – we like this diary and journal combo.

3. Writing improves your memory and creativity.

You might think that your brain cells are flawless and that you don’t forget the essential stuff, but unfortunately, we all have foggy brain days where we forget crucial tasks. Even if you’re blessed with a high IQ, you’re still only able to keep a few select pieces of information top of mind. Writing to-do lists and maintaining a regular journaling habit helps reinforce and entrench the needs into your memory, but it also helps break it down in terms of importance. These writing habits help you keep track of everything, rather than just the one or two tasks that you’ve remembered. It creates a roadmap to tell you what to do and when. Research has also shown that writing by hand helps to process and understand concepts better, and we can express more ideas – that’s where you can boost your creativity.  
Your starting point: Even if you don’t want to create a strict journaling habit, you can still benefit from doodling and writing notes, lists, and ideas daily. Invest in a few
creative colour notebooks (A4 or A5 – we like the bigger size, but it’s your preference), and then buy some coloured gel pens or high-quality pencils for easy writing and sketching.
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