To set reasonable goals make a list for high-energy days and another for when you are reluctant to work. Both lists should follow an “if/then” model.
The first lists should have the more involved tasks, while the second list should feature more mindless tasks like cleaning out your inbox, organizing your desk, or even napping.
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Time-blocking consists of assigning individual tasks to manageable time slots.
Instead of writing out short tasks alongside hours-long tasks on your list for the day and hoping you have enough time to tackle it all, this approach lets you set realistic goals for yourself one task at a time.
It’s fine to use your own shorthand to write to-do lists as long as you can decipher it later. Consider doodling quick images to get your message across.
One study found that words are more likely to stick in our memories if we draw pictures of them instead of writing them down. Doing so also forces you to think them through ahead of time.
Deep work is a term developed by Cal Newport, stating that all intellectual activities should be performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit.
On the other side deep work is “half-work” or “shallow work”. That kind of low‑value work usually goes along with multitasking, working on many projects, and having distractions in the environment (email, chat, and others).
Software that can help you do deep work:
Time commitment to get started: Medium
Type: Abstract, visual
Perfect for people who: Need to prioritize tasks, but tend to go for lists over graphs.
What it does: Prioritizes your tasks by urgency, ensures that you’re accomplishing the right things.
Write down everything you have to do and then identify each as a Must, a Should, or a Want.
Your Must tasks are non-negotiable. “Pay rent” — that’s a Must if it’s the first of the month.
A Should is something you need to do, but it’s not dire that it be done today. Answering certain emails may be a Should.
A Want is something you’d like to do, but might not be practical or necessary at the moment.
You'll find it is usually the thing you least want to do. It is not a meaningless errand or tedious office task. It's a significant item that will make you feel more fulfilled.