Just jotting down tasks can enhance your productivity, even if you don’t finish every one.

Starting a to-do list not only helps you keep track of important tasks; the act of writing them down actually has several brain-boosting benefits. That’s the premise of a recent Fast Company article, which lays out three compelling reasons for putting your to-do list in writing. Bonus: Even if you don’t accomplish every task, you still benefit. Here’s a quick look at why to-do lists are good for you:

  1. It makes it easier for your memory. List-making is mental manipulation: when you write down and prioritize items on a list, your brain decides which pieces of information to hang onto for later.
  2. It makes abstract goals concrete. Breaking down a big project into smaller, concrete actions helps you reach your objective – and brings to light other small tasks you might have missed.
  3. It helps you clear the weeds. Scheduling your to-do list tasks on a calendar helps bring your brain out of reactive mode so you can look at the long term.

Even if your to-do list isn’t organized, you’ve still taken steps to look ahead and uncover things that might be getting in your way. And in the long term, this is just as beneficial as checking off a task.

Ready to grab a notepad and pen and start making a to-do list? Find more inspiration in the full article.