There's a problem with To-Do lists. They have a habit of growing. And growing. And growing.
We start by jotting down a few items we don't want to forget. Then, we think of a couple more things, a handful of grocery list items, a reminder of someone's birthday, and before we know it we're writing on the back of the page, and have a partial list of things that both a) have no realistic chance of being completed today, nor b) have any real relationship to each other let alone some grand plan.
That's ok. But it's only ok if we recognize that to-do list for what it is, and use other tools appropriately to compensate for its shortcomings.
Enter: The Today-To-Do List
Our Today-To-Do List serves as a cheat-sheet for what we are to do today. For maximum effectiveness, it needs to be limited to just that.
Turn your To-Do List into a Today-To-Do List by keeping it short, separate, close, and fresh, and you'll find it becomes one of the most powerful tools in your personal productivity arsenal.
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Paper lists aren't sexy, but they're a simple, highly effective way to maintain focus in a world of unending demands. Using a paper list recognizes that our we can never complete every item on our Master To-Do List, and that if we did, it's likely a sign that we've either set the bar too low, or we don't really have a full grasp of the "open loops" in our life. It equates productivity not with volume of boxes checked, but rather with the impact of the few boxes we do check, liberating us to enjoy the fruits of our efforts, and leaving us with the time and energy to both guiltlessly enjoy life, and ensure we have sustainable energy tomorrow to do it all over again.