To-Do Lists May Help You Be More Productive

iStock / iStock

Think to-do lists are just a creative way to procrastinate? Jotting down your tasks can actually help you be more productive, according to Daniel Levitin, a neuroscience professor at McGill University and best-selling author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.

Levitin recently stopped by the tech podcast Note to Self to share his tips for better organizing your brain. One smart suggestion: Don't underestimate the power of a good list. Most of us are capable of holding only four items in our minds at once, Levitin explained, and all that extra brain power required to keep our tasks straight takes away from energy that could be spent actually completing them. “I think this is really important, that you write down all the things that you have to do, clear it out of your head so that you’re not using neuro resources with that little voice reminding you to pick up milk on the way home and to check to see if you paid the utility bill,” he told podcast host Manoush Zomorodi.

By listing out your priorities, you’re able to devote more mental space to whatever lies before you. And when it's time to move on to your next goal, you’ll be able to switch tasks without missing a beat. So if you still haven't designated a New Year’s resolution for this year, consider resolving to write more lists in 2016. You can listen to the full podcast episode here.

[h/t: NY Mag]