In our day to day, it can be hard to focus on the truly important things when everything seems important and to-do lists can be their own sort of hell. Instead of dealing with overwhelm, start by answering, "What would make today great?" to define the things that would make you happy that you did them.
Image by Walt Stoneburner.
That question is one of several prompts that the Five Minute Journal (5MJ) asks you to fill in daily. 5MJ is a physical journal (or an app) and journalling technique for people who essentially don't want to spend time journalling, but still want the benefits.
I actually started using 5MJ a few months ago because journalling seemed so daunting. Since, the "What would make today great?" question has had a remarkable impact on my focus, mood, and positivity. It helped me really narrow down priorities, some of which weren't even career-related. Some were as simple as "Call my mum to tell her I love her."
Journaling every day is a habit that comes with a lot of great benefits, like dealing with emotions, focusing on goals, and developing creativity. If you don't know where to start, this simple template can help you get the ball rolling.
So ask "What would make today great?" and write at least three things. It can be on a plain notebook. As Aaron Orendorff points out in Mashable, using a specific tool like 5MJ isn't important. What is, is intentionally devoting time in the morning to do some meaningful, mini goal-setting. And by having a record, you can see what keeps coming up and realise that maybe you haven't been working on the things you should be after all.