Use the Magic Line Method
Here is one strategy to quickly prioritize your day: draw a line across the middle of your to-do list.
What lies above the magic line are tasks that you actually have time for today.
What lies below the magic line is what you would like to do but that don't have to be done today.
What is great about the magic line is that it encourages your brain to prioritize at very high level.
When you reach this level of prioritization it becomes easier to let go of the distracting minutia that would otherwise eat up your day.
A focused and concise to-do list will help you zero in on what is truly critical for you to accomplish.
In general, you have less time in your day to complete your critical tasks than you realize.
This is why I only list 4 items above and below the magic line.
Being realistic about your time and responding accordingly is an advanced time management skill.
When you "get" that you only have a few hours at the most to really focus on your work you start saying no more easily and protecting your time more seriously.
And this changes everything.
Of course the real magic here is to actually give yourself the time to sit down and prioritize your day.
If you don’t have a consistent planning ritual already in place take a minute right now and consider these questions:
What time of day does it make the most sense for you to prioritize?
Where is the best place for you to think?
What do you need with you (i.e. calendar, yesterday’s list, master list, etc.)
How long will it take you?
Once you have the various elements identified, combine them into a ritual that you can experiment with. Try it out for a week or two.
Collect data. Over the coming days notice what works with your planning ritual. What doesn’t? Tweak from there.
And remember to let this approach evolve to fit your life. That’s the only way it will last.
Have you ever tried the magic line method? How do you keep the process of prioritizing simple and straightforward? Be sure to share your thoughts below.