I’ve been using to-do lists for almost a decade now, and my lists have continually evolved, so they’ve become pretty effective (though for the most part just simpler). Here’s the blueprint I use and that you can use, too.
The Mindcoolness To-Do List:
- trigger habit + primary priority
- first partial goal
- second partial goal
- third partial goal
- secondary priority
- tertiary priority
Your primary priority is the first thing you do in the morning. It should fulfill your great vision for the day, your answer to the question: “Which completed goal would make me feel the most accomplished?”
Before you jump into working on your #1 priority, complete a little task: do a breathing exercise, do three sets of pull-ups or push-ups, or take a cold shower. This task, which shouldn’t take longer than 3 minutes, will be your trigger habit, after which you attack your #1 goal. It will set the proper mood, get your bodymind in the right state, and automatize your behavior. After just a few days of ritualizing this, you’ll do it without conscious effort and smoothly proceed to the important action.
Always divide your primary goal into at least three sub-goals, three milestones you want to achieve. This way, you won’t get intimidated even by gigantic workloads. The less you hesitate, the more you can kill!
Your priorities two and three may contain sub-goals as well.
If you work from home, put your list on a whiteboard.
Finally, stick to these three principles:
- Specify all items as clearly, precisely, and time-bound as possible.
- Never put more than three main items on the list; they should, in total, amount to no more than 75% of your available time.
- Write the list before you go to bed; then your brain prepares itself for the tasks while you sleep.
Make sure you always check off all items. If you’re uncertain whether you can accomplish all tasks, create a shorter list! Failing to achieve daily goals is a disastrous habit you must avoid at all costs. Do risk, but do not desensitize yourself to failure!