Write your to-do list the night before so that you get a good view about the day's layout and plan once you set out in the morning
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Don't use the same list for each day; it might end up looking like a mess of mixed things (done, undone, unimportant, critical etc). Create a fresh list each day so that visually also, you get a feeling of starting with a clean slate. It can have tasks undone from previous day but writing them on top will force you to knock them off first.
Have some nomenclature of prioritization. Either a number ranking or the famous urgent-important framework. But create an order out of the chaos, so that you can deal with it.
Always be specific about the action that needs to be taken. Vague words like "implement XXX" will create a trap because that alone might involve multiple steps.
Your actual task of doing things cannot happen in pockets or in isolation. Ultimately, you need to carve out time to do stuff. If you can carve out straight 3 hours to finish all 10-15 tasks - fine. But if you have only intermittent slots, then the best way is to map a set of 3-5 tasks for 1 hour and then attend to other stuff/meetings and deal with another set of 3-5 tasks in another hour. This is possible only when you tightly map tasks to your calendar.
The to do list needs to keep moving and give you a sense of accomplishment by end of the day. So keep only smaller and focussed tasks (not broad ideas). Keep a separate list of long-term ideas, for weekend reflections (if you can).
Always draw boundaries and keep the no. of things fewer and, if possible, in groups of 3.
Although it might feel natural to create your to-do list first thing in the morning, it's too late.
Writing the list at the end of the day allows you to leave work behind and transition into personal time.
Your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy.
If the instructions are clear, specific, and easily carried out, you're golden. If not, you'll get undesirable results, such as fear, procrastination, and self-loathing.
There is an unfortunate myth that lists make things trivial, but they make things come alive. A goal gains power when you write it down. Make a list of what you want to achieve and become in life.
For instance, when you make a list of what to buy at the grocery store, you mostly focus on the things mentioned in that instead of wandering around and buying things that are not needed. Making lists keeps you focused.
"CLUTTER IS NOTHING MORE THAN POSTPONED DECISION."
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