Do you get overwhelmed by all the tasks you need to get done, and then feel like you don’t know where to start? I have an anxious and distractible brain, so that happens to me a lot. If I’m not careful, I can get through a workday without having completed any of the tasks that were my top priority!
Yet I’m known by my business friends to be highly productive. My simple organizational system helps me get through my top priorities of the day before I get distracted by lower priority tasks. It also has the added benefit of making me feel calmer and more focused.
Here’s what I do:
1. Get a pad of square Post-It notes.
I keep a pad of square Post-It notes by my computer. Every day, on the top post-it note I write what tasks/projects are highest priority for that day. Those can even include a mix of professional and personal tasks (such as write article about organizing system, followed by cancel Solomon’s doctor appointment).
2. Pick a task.
As I start my workday, I pick a task from the post it, in any order I like, to tackle. As I finish a task, I draw a line through it so I can see my progress and what I still need to do.
3. Keep a “tomorrow” list.
If I think of an important task for tomorrow, or I know I’m not going to be able to finish one of today’s tasks, I write it on the next Post-It note to start my list for tomorrow.
This simple organizing system keeps me feeling calm, focused and productive. The square post it notes are perfect because they fit less than 10 tasks, and that’s usually about what is realistic for me to accomplish on a productive day when I have some hours at my desk.
I keep priorities for the month and week that are not ready to be put onto my daily post-its on a separate list (sometimes paper, sometimes on my laptop) and revisit them occasionally when trying to determine priorities.