Crossing an item off a to-do list feels great. You get to physically delete it and enjoy the mental freedom of knowing it’s done. But in today’s world of incoming media, distractions, and constant multi-tasking, adding an item to your to-do list—and getting it out of your head—can bring almost as much relief as crossing it off will.
Adding something to a physical to-do list frees up the energy of maintaining a mental one. You can exert more effort actually doing those things when you’re not exerting effort to remember them.
For more on this, here’s a past post with some advice from Ari Weinzweig, co-owner and founding partner of the Zingerman’s deli empire.