Always work from a list.

This might be one of the more obvious rules to follow as most of us already use some kind of self-organization, task management or to-do list approach.

Or at least we should do that, surprisingly few people stick to it however, trying new ways of organizing themselves and losing sight of the goal by trying out dozens of new task, project, to-do management Apps before they realize that they probably should put finding the right tools for self-organization on their to-do list.

But if you already found your way of organizing yourself and it works for you just keep on doing it – but if you have trouble getting things done, you find yourself keep putting stuff off or just plain forget about it then make sure that from now on you work from a list.

A list is helpful in prioritizing your work. It can help you to identify that most annoying thing you have to do first thing in the morning and it will help you identify that other thing – the most important item on your task list for your manager.

It will also help you to focus throughout the day. You have to handle many disruptions every day and the list helps to keep your head free to deal with these minor or mayor disruptions without losing focus.

So how do you organize your list?

This is up to you. But make sure you do not start to make this a complicated method of collecting everything you ever wanted to do. Focus on the day ahead of you – sit down in the morning and make the list. Do not start some elaborate task management system with days, weeks, months and years – this will only bog you down and frustrate you because there is still so much to do and lets face it in your job all these tasks change continuously anyway.

Focus on this day – create your list in a simple way. If you want to use your smartphone for this – fine, as long as the App gets out of your way and makes it easy to work with the list. The only thing you actually have to do with the list is adding items during the day and checking items off as completed. I prefer to use a simple sheet of paper for this as it is the fastest and easiest way to manage my list.

(this is an excerpt from my book “Rise to the top!” - if you want to read more on how to be organized and become a great manager and leader in your organization please get my book)