Updated: Mar 1, 2022
I’m a list maker. There’s just something really satisfying about sitting down and writing out everything that you have to get done…then crossing things off!
A lot of productivity perfectionists bemoan list making. It’s not that writing a list is a bad thing. It’s that there’s no prioritization. So most people either start at the top of their list, or with the easiest thing on their list, regardless of its importance in the grand scheme of things. As a result, the important things can go un-done.
There’s one simple productivity and time management practice that you can try to transform your list…After you write your list, take time every day to identify your Big 5 priorities. These are the five things you need to check off your list in order to go to bed at night knowing you got the important stuff done.
My daily big 5 includes both work and personal tasks (because self-care and home-life are important too). Some days my Big 5 includes things that seem self-evident, like drinking water or taking deep breaths, writing them down offers accountability to do something I might otherwise forget. Other days my Big 5 is full of client tasks: meetings, emails, proposals, followup phone calls, reports and the like.
Every day looks different because my priorities shift from day to day. So, now when I decide what do to next, I look at my Big 5 priorities for the day and start by giving my time and attention to those things before I move onto the other items on my list.
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Before you get to work take a moment to reflect on the following questions, and try to be specific about the actions you need to take:
What are all the different tasks that are on my mind?
What are my Big 5 priorities for today?
What do I need to accomplish to check each of those priorities of my list today?