Make your personal goals a priority.

There is controversy over how to best set up a to-do list, or for that matter, if to have one at all. Here’s an approach that many highly successful people use.

The key is to start our list the day before, about midway through the day, when we are on top of things, but not exhausted. This list should start with only three important tasks, and one being the absolute, must-do priority.

The tasks should be achievable, broken down to take up to 45 minutes of our time, so not a complete goal, just steps towards our objective. Ensure that the tasks are in line with your values.

They should also be scheduled in, with a deadline, for example: “Contact key client by 10am.” Most of us work well to deadlines. We should try to accomplish our most important task first thing, before the daily emergencies kick in. Then, tackle the next two items that are significant to us. Only after our top three tasks are complete, should we consider the less important list items, or other people’s priorities.

Take action: It’s important to know what our own priorities are, as opposed to what other people want us to do. If you are not clear on your values and goals, or don’t have a vision for who you want to be, make that number one on your list.

Inspired by Jason Selk, Tom Barton and Matthew Rudy’s book, Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life.

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