By Denise Landers

You have heard it before:  “Write everything down.”  Chances are you already have several lists of ToDo items.  But then I’m guessing that there are still some tasks that you keep in your head because you are sure you will remember to do them.

When I talk about multitasking in my time management training seminars, I have the audience pause to write down everything in their heads that is not already listed somewhere else.  After a few giggles and some brief hesitation, people begin to write…and write…and write. The number of items grows, with pauses in between writing.  The reason for each pause is that you can only store an average of seven things in your short-term memory.  Once everything in the forefront is written down, other tasks and thoughts can rise to the surface.

It is the same thing that can happen when you are asleep and, in the middle of the night, you awaken to wonder if you overlooked something that was due.  During the day it is easy to submerge some thoughts because you are running around multitasking, and you have fragmented focuses.

When you keep something stored in your memory, confident that you will not forget it, you diffuse your focus in the present.  It is very difficult to both concentrate and try to remember everything when so many divergent thoughts keep shifting through your mind.

If EVERYTHING is written down and placed in one location so that you can prioritize, you immediately improve your concentration.  In not worrying about forgetting something, your productivity will increase, and you will feel less stressed.

Denise Landers is the author of Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey and the owner of Key Organization Systems, Inc.  ( ).  Based in Houston, she is a national speaker, trainer, consultant and coach providing conference sessions, corporate training, and individual assistance to improve daily work flow and time management skills.