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There are more and more programs designed to help us deal with our to-do list. We have them from the most complete (and complex) as Omnifocus , to others much simpler as Wunderlist. There are web services and applications for our Smartphone and of course, we can also manage our list of tasks with a notebook and a pen.

Some start with a clear GTD approach and others refer us to the basics. Some are tremendously Spartan and others (especially many designed for Mac OS X) bet on the preciosity and details. However, in the end, they are just a tool, and in none of them, we will learn to make a large list of tasks if we do not have some basic notions. Let's see then what are the principles that we must take into account.

Empty your mind

Although many sounds like oriental philosophy, the truth is that we cannot write a good list of tasks without knowing what is really what we have to do.

As a morning exercise, it is a great idea that the first thing we do as soon as we get to our work is to write everything we have in mind (tasks, projects, future wishes ...) It is an exercise that should take us about ten minutes a day and that can end up resulting in a huge list of things to do, but that is necessary as it will serve us to shape our list.

Determine important tasks

Review the list you just wrote and highlight important tasks. They can be critical tasks for the development of work, promises that you must fulfill when you get home or anything that can report negative consequences if you do not carry them out, such as paying your bills.

It is up to us to determine what is important, and what is not important. And not everything has to be related to work or be transcendent. If we want to take a diving course for example, it should also be on this list.

Determine urgent tasks

Go back to reviewing your list. Point again (perhaps using another color or symbol) which of your tasks are urgent. They may not be as important as the ones you mentioned before, but time is short and they should be done in a short space of time.

An urgent task can be something as trivial as returning a book to the library, making a phone call or answering an e-mail. As in the previous case, we are the ones who must determine what is urgent, although the normal thing is to focus on tasks that must be done in the next days or at most in a week.

Choose two important tasks

Now looking at the important tasks that we have selected before, choose the following:

  • A small important task that you can do today (for example, finish that report and send it to the boss)
  • An important task that you can carry out throughout the week (it could be to write the first chapter of your novel)

Depending on your schedule and the size of your tasks, we may be able to choose more than two important tasks in each category (projects). It is also important to know how to write correctly the task we must carry out. "Report" for example, is not a task. "Finish the sales report and send it to my boss" instead, yes it is.

Add two urgent tasks

If we know how to program our day-to-day well, we should not deal with too many urgent tasks. But even if the urgent tasks exceed us, the ideal is to start our day in the first place to face the important tasks (in this way we avoid living according to our "urgencies").

In case we can do it, it is advisable to delegate all those urgent, but unimportant, tasks that may be carried out by others.

Check the list every morning

Every morning when we arrive at our workplace, or in the comfort of our home, we will have to review our list of tasks and start again the process that we have explained up to here

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