There is one habit that is critical for your productivity. I have used it for years and it helps me to focus on the best things amidst the choices of many good (secondary) options. That is always creating a Today List. It should be a subselection of what is non-negotiable for the day. Before getting to work and reacting, you can create this list by doing a simple brain dump on two question:
What has to get done today?
What one thing moves my big goal forward?
You can do this at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day to prepare your mind for the upcoming day.
I like to use Google Tasks for this. And here is how I like to train my clients on for best practices using this simple but powerful tool.
1. Make a list called “Today”. You can create lists in Google Tasks or remove them. This one needs to stay. Only fill it with 5-7 tasks for today. It leaves room for the emergencies and demands you can’t see yet from others.
2. Keep a master list of any ideas you have or demands. It’s a default task list like “Don’s List” which is set up initially. You can scan this list every day and move items into your Today list by opening and reassigning the task.
3. Reorder your Today list items. Put the most important item at the very top. Then attack it. You have the most energy at the beginning of your day and start to fade as the day goes on. Use it to your advantage. In my family, we call it “Eating the frog,” which alludes to the fact that i you had to start your day eating a frog, everything else is pretty easy in comparison.
4. Check items off and use the function to clear completed items. Stay determined to knock out your list.
Every day is filled with such a fast pace that this becomes a highly effective focal point. Spending five minutes before you start to put your Today List together keeps you on track and helps you have a personal framework for success.
Do it for a month and watch your productivity shoot up.
You can continue to work your general list in your downtime, but your Today List is your anchor.
Also, be sure to have your list accessible and synced on your iPhone or Android device via an app like GoTasks. This allows you to review your list as you are not in front of a computer and keep focused. It is also a quick way to capture any future items that will inevitably come up.
Any thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below.