David Allen, the creator of the Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity method, explains in this short video how you can get control over your to-do list by clarifying your actions and the results you want. If you're not keeping a to-do list because it's never helped you, his tips may help you start one that works for you.
The video, part of a series on life hacks by our friends at Epipheo.TV, is a brief primer on why to-do lists actually do help us get things done, and introduces you to the basic elements of the GTD system. You don't have to be a GTD devotee to get the value from the video though. The concepts are simple: Any to-do list needs to not just have reminder phrases or terms in it, but clear language about the things you want to do and the results you want to obtain. Additional language like when you need to do them is always good.
Perhaps just as important as making sure your to-do list is clear and easy to follow is the fact that your to-do list should be your way of getting those goals, projects and actions out of your head. This lets you focus your attention on other things, whether it's something you'd rather do, an emergency that needs your full attention, or just on a good night's sleep without worrying about the day ahead.
How To Hack Your To-Do List [Epipheo.TV on YouTube]