Most to-do lists are organised by either priority or time. That's fine, but it doesn't work for everyone, especially on those days when you're a bit under the weather. For those times, 99U suggests trying something a little different and organising your to-dos by the amount of energy it takes to complete an item.
Photo by Etienne Gérard
The idea here is that you'd organise your to-do lists into three main categories: high; normal; and low energy. Of course, you can do this year-round, but it works especially well when you're sick. 99U explains how and why it works:
I assign high energy to anything that is going to take a lot of my mental energy,low energy to anything that is fairly easy to complete, and normal energy to anything that falls in between. Using an energy-based context requires honesty. If you're feeling great, then do the things that require higher levels of energy — don't cheat yourself by doing something lightweight instead.
One of the greatest benefits of using an energy-based context is that if you're not feeling all that well (or even have called in sick), you can still make some progress with low energy tasks. Even the smallest steps forward are at least steps that are moving you in the right direction and a few low energy tasks can sometimes give you momentum to tackle the bigger fish.
That added context can help you pick what you can do on your to-do list and get things done regardless of how you're feeling at any given moment. Head over to 99U for a few other ideas for organising those to-dos.