Updated May 2024

Ever battle with competing priorities? Me, too. One way I try to tame the beasts is my daily to-do list. Instead of just randomly listing the stuff I have to do, I look at my project backlog and split today's tasks into Important and Urgent categories (see hero image). This is a riff on the Agile principle of weighted shortest job first. Urgent stuff is either time-critical (today) or mission-critical (can't get pushed off the list). Everything else is Important.

During the day, I cross items off as I go and add new ones. The tiny amount of time it takes me to figure out which side of the sheet an item goes on is an easy investment in prioritizing. At the end of the day, I go over both lists, adding anything I might have forgotten, like calls or emails I need to return the next day.

I'm also helped by Basecamp, which lets me break down projects to key tasks and set deadlines for each one. They show up on my calendar and in my inbox (the latter with advance notice!). Between these two tools, I'm able to keep better track of what needs to be done when.

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