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Writing Things Down Can Be Your First Step In Taking Action

17/08/2017 10:19 BST | Updated 17/08/2017 10:19 BST

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Photo: Slava

If you're looking for a powerful tool to propel yourself into action, try writing things down! Just in case you needed some persuasion, here are 5 good reasons why writing things down could be your first action step to making changes.

My first and foremost reason for writing things down is that it requires focus. Few people can write down one thought while thinking another. Try it out! When you're writing, you're focused on each word of what you're thinking. Writing is so (relatively) slow, you can't write down all your thoughts if you've got a million per minute. You've got to focus on one of them.

Once you've focused on writing down a thought, you'll be able to get to the bottom of it. You'll be invited to go further because you won't have been distracted by the next thought that comes along. One thought leads to another and if you stay with that train of thoughts, you'll gain insight.

What is also great about writing down your thoughts, is that if you keep these thoughts in a notebook, you can go over your musings later. You'll be able to discover patterns in the way that you think. Once you've recognized patterns, you'll be able to observe how they play out in your life. With observation comes power because when you're not trapped in your patterns but recognize them, you can actually choose something different! I'm sure you can feel how this is a powerful tool for change.

Another reason for writing things down is that it preserves them from oblivion! Our civilisations invented writing so as not to forget! Why wouldn't we avail ourselves of this powerful tool? We THINK we can remember but have you ever gone over the memory of an event with a person who experienced the same event? And have you been surprised to find out that their memory of the self-same event differed from yours? I'm not talking about things you could have been feeling at this event. I'm talking about facts and the truth is, we tend to get facts wrong over time. We think that our memory is like a film. We see events in our mind's eye and believe that this is a recording of the event. It isn't though. It's an interpretation. When we think back on an event, we're in fact recreating it.

A third reason to write things down is because it creates awareness. Have you ever had a friend or family member who suffered from not coming across as the person he or she really was? From the outside, it was obvious to you how by just changing their approach, by just changing the way the expressed themselves, by just making sure that their clothes were clean... they would really come across so much better. To you, it was obvious but the person in question didn't have a clue. They weren't even aware that there was a problem.

Writing down what seem like problems to you will create added awareness. I don't mean by this that I'd like for you to obsess about your problems. But if you write them down, you can have a less emotional approach to them. If your problem is with your partner who you think is ignoring you, write it down. Then think why that would be. You might come up with a ton of reasons for this. If so you've gained clarity. You might even have come across something you're responsible for and could therefore change! If you can't think of a reason that he or she is ignoring you, it might be that they're not! It might be your interpretation of their behaviour that's at the root of the problem. Now that's insight for you!

My fourth reason is to always have your priorities straight. If you've been dreaming of spending more time with your children for instance, you could keep a log book of what you do with your time. Before going to bed, you could write down what you've been doing during the day. Then you would be able to see where your time goes. If you do it over some time, you'll be able to discover exactly how much time you spend with your children. No room for illusions here. You'll be able to go over your week and say: "I spent that amount of time with them". When you've got this information, you'll be able to decide whether you're happy with this. If not, you'll know what you need to do to change things! Having written it down makes it impossible to lull yourself into a false belief. It's called being brutally honest with yourself.

The last good reason for writing things down I want to mention is that it frees up space in your mind! If you look at your mind as a computer, which it isn't (I'm just using it as a metaphor), you'll understand that there're only so many things that you can put in with it still functioning at optimal level (and speed). So if you're filling up your hard disk with shopping lists and to do lists, there might just not be enough space for the important stuff such as new ideas! If you're piling up your mental clutter, you'll easily fall prey to overwhelm so please be careful with what you store.

Getting rid of unnecessary clutter in your mind creates a sense of peace. No more shopping lists in front of your eyes when you're trying to go to sleep, no more recordings playing your to dos, your obligations, nothing reminding you to worry about your 14-year-old son who's been acting up: you've written it all down, remember! Your mind is now free to cultivate other things such as great ideas, insights and inspiration!

If you want to read the full blog post or if you want other tips on the benefits of writing things down, go to my blog: http://katrinehorn-coaching.com/en/blog/