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Why highlighting beats crossing out….

Highlighting vs crossing outWhen you accomplish something on your TO DO list, or in your diary – do you cross it out?

So did I.

So many people find it very pleasing to cross out their list as they do it – as they feel they are progressing – but I have gone one step further now, and I feel that this makes much more sense.

Now what I do in my diary and on my TO DO list is that when I complete anything, I highlight it rather than crossing it out.

Its not a massive change in effort, but it really makes a difference to my emotions and how motivated I am.

Of course I used to do what the majority of people do and just cross things off the list – but after I changed to highlighting I realised why I felt so much better:-

  • Its bright – and using a paler highlighter like yellow just makes things seem less boring!
  • You can still read what you’ve done – very useful if you need to track a project, or know when you contacted someone last etc….
  • You can much more easily see what you haven’t done as yet a it looks so different to the highlight (the problem with crossing out is that you may have crossed out errors on the page already, so the two can get muddled up quickly)
  • Its much more of a pat on on the back kind of feeling – and feels more like recognition – crossing out is a subconsciously more negative thing to do.
  • You can track a project and when you’ve worked on something by using a specific colour for each different project (works well for tracking work projects in the office, or equally at home to check you have balanced your time well)

NOTE – I only highlight on my TO DO list once I’ve done something.

Now, this sounds a silly thing to say, but how I work means that I could highlight things too quickly and get muddled.

For example – when planning the following day, I look at the scheduled items on the day, and add in time for prep or travel – and any tasks that I have to complete that day (daily, weekly etc…) and then (and only then) I look at my TO DO list and see if any spare time can be filled by one or two things on that.

At this stage I could highlight them on my TO DO list as I have now written them on my diary – but they aren’t actually done as yet – so I leave it and then highlight at the end of the day if actually done.

why I highlight instead of crossing things outThat way, if I don’t manage to get them done that day, I haven’t messed up the TO DO list, and the items can be schedule again another day (saves a LOT of time rewriting things!).

You could also do a block highlighting of your TO DO list on a weekly basis – as there is so much satisfaction to be gained from doing them all in one go and seeing exactly how much you’ve accomplished!

Try it from now onwards and see how much better you feel – I really think it does make that much difference!


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2 Responses to Why highlighting beats crossing out….

  1. Dan Read Jul 8, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    Actually works – totally feel as though this is a positive achievement rather than a more negative 'finally I've done that task' kind of approach. Highlighting is clearly the way forward…

    • Organise My House Jul 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Thanks for the comment! – it does change how you view things that you have done!

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