One of the best exercises I`ve seen is to have a 2-column list. In the lefthand column, write only what you KNOW you can accomplish in the next 24 hours. In the right column, write out what it is you want. Forget about the "how," or the "why." Simply write in a positive, "voting for" way, what it is you want. Leave that up to the universe, God, or "somehow."
Fine....so now you have a To-Do list that`s going to be accomplished in the next day. I think we can reduce that down to even a better focus. And isn`t that the point of To-Do lists; to narrow the focus?
We know that the mind can hold in conscious attention only about 5-7 things at a time. More than that, and we start shifting thoughts out into the mid-term memory, like a lazy-susan.
Build a list for Today. Choose no more than 5 things. If there are more, then put them on Tomorrow, but don`t number them. If there are more than 5 for tomorrow, then put those on the "Somehow" column.
Begin working the list, and forget about priorities! If they`re on the Today list, they`re already priorities! And they should be things you really want to get done. If one of them will take many hours, then don`t put 5 things on Today`s list...only that one.
Whenever anyone asks you to do something, ask yourself:
- Is this on my list? If not, I`ll add it to the bottom, and see about tomorrow.
- Is it an emergency? If it is--a real emergency, not some make-believe crisis--then I`ll remove 1 item from "today," move that to tomorrow, and replace it at this moment with the emergency.
- If it isn`t on my list, and it isn`t an emergency, then it`ll go to the Tomorrow list.
You`ll be astonished at how much of tomorrow`s stuff you`ll do when you know you "don`t have to do it."