By writing down your goals and desires, you are much more likely to make those dreams a reality. How much more likely? Research shows that people who write down their goals are about twice as likely to achieve them as those who do not. And if you count those who write down their goals but don't quite meet them, they still get a lot closer than they would have if they hadn't written them down in the first place. Therefore, you can see the strong case for committing to your goals in writing.
We're all too familiar with the endless To-Do list, the one with dozens of items, more than you could accomplish in a week, let alone a day. While writing every single thing you have to do down on a list may make you feel like you're getting your life under control, it's actually counterproductive. Not only will critical tasks get lost in the muddle, you can become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of things you have to accomplish. It may be more attractive to just take a nap!
One of the biggest problems with To-Do lists is that people write down projects versus tasks. Anything that goes on your list should be something you can actually accomplish, such as “Call Joe about product release plans,” instead of “Finalize product release.” If you write down projects instead of tasks, you can't ever cross them off – they just sit on your list and migrate from one day to the next which is obviously very frustrating. On the other hand, basic Psychology teaches that rewards make us want to do an activity more – so every time we check off an item on our list, it motivates us to do more. You can only do that if the items are small enough to check off. However…
I've been tempted to write down things on my list just so I can cross them off. And while this gives me a little momentary boost, it doesn't do much to move you closer to your goals. So before something makes it onto your list, ask yourself if it's critical to the completion of your goals. If not, don't even write it down. (Trust me, you will remember to “eat lunch” even if you don't have it on your daily list!)