Your to-do list can have a whole bunch of items, so where do you start? Try making a list of tasks that make you most anxious or uncomfortable, suggests angel investor Tim Ferriss.
3) Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They're often things that have been punted from one day's to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.
4) For each item, ask yourself:
- "If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?"
- "Will moving this forward make all the other to-do's unimportant or easier to knock off later?"
5) Look only at the items you've answered "yes" to for at least one of these questions.
6) Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
This narrows down your focus instead of trying to put out too many flames at once. Ferris emphasises that you should allocate one single block of time, not a collection of short bursts to tackle this "anxious item".
If this doesn't work for you, you can always try Eisenhower's urgency-importance matrix to find out what should be next in your to-do list.
"Productivity" Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) [The Blog of Tim Ferriss]