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The Thread

The Thread: Tackling The To-Do List

When it comes to conquering the daily to-do list, what works for you?

The Thread: Tackling The To-Do List

One of the first things I do each morning is write a list of all the things I hope to accomplish that day—work tasks, meetings, and personal errands. I dream of reaching a point when my to-do list is so well managed that I have that lovely "crossed everything off my list" feeling seven nights a week. In large part that's because the list is full of non-work tasks like exercising, booking a haircut, or working on a personal writing project that are most likely to be left undone (though there are nights when I move work tasks from today's to-do list to tomorrow's to-do list, which is an awful feeling—especially the next morning).

This year I am determined to take control of my to-do list, whatever that might mean.

Perhaps I need to make my to-do list shorter, or do a better job of estimating how much time I'll have between meetings and other appointments. Gina Trapani suggests breaking to-do list items down into even smaller pieces.

I wonder if I schedule meetings inefficiently—the venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny schedules all of her medical and dental appointments on the same day, which seems smarter than interrupting several days throughout the year.

Maybe I'm not thinking about my priorities in the right way. Fast Company expert contributor Edward Hess recalls speaking to an entrepreneur who puts off tasks that don't directly impact one of his three priority areas (in his case: customers, quality, and cash flow).

Can technology help me? Even though I love my iPhone and am a very plugged-in person, I've always preferred writing my to-do lists by hand.

When it comes to conquering the daily to-do list, what works for you? Share your advice in the comments section below, or tweet us @FastCompany.

[Image: Flickr user kkirugi]

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