A couple of years ago, I read the quite famous “Getting Things Done” book. Although I didn’t end up following the model it describes, this very simple takeaway has been extremely impactful on my day-to-day:
Whichever task comes up to my mind that cannot be accomplished at that moment in time, gets immediately logged in my to-do list.
It's super simple but it achieves so much:
- Declutters my mind — I know that everything I have to do, even the simplest task, is in my to-do list so I don't have to constantly think about it to avoid forgetting it.
- Helps me plan my day — I can quickly pick up the major tasks to achieve on a given day or week.
- Removes the "what to do next" question — I'm in my garage with 30 minutes to spend on some chores; instead of spending most of my time searching for things to do, I'll spend a couple of minutes scanning the tasks of my "garage" to-do list and then pick one.
For the process to work though, it needs the following:
- Trust — I religiously log everything so I trust that whatever crossed my mind it ended up there. I try to only spend a few seconds doing that, so a few words per task will do the trick; they'll get organised later.
- Organisation — I keep things organised in many different lists, otherwise they end up being very long and it defeats the purpose. When possible, I also try to prioritise within the lists.
- Review — I spend a few minutes at the end of the day to review any tasks that I dumped earlier and organise/prioritise accordingly. Also, every month or so I'll spend a little longer (typically around 30') to go through various lists and do a clean-up if required.
Why don't you give it a go?