Rolling tasks keep you focused and prioritized

Photo courtesy Flickr user john.schultz

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY  I'm a strong advocate of working from "to-do" lists. I try to follow the Getting It Done methodology, and I never go anywhere around the office without a pad of paper to take notes and refer to my task list. In the past, in fact, I've championed rewriting your to-do list each morning when you arrive in the office.

Productivity blog Stepcase Lifehack recommends a digital variation of this system that they call a rolling list. The premise of the system is simple. By keeping your to-do list on an electronic tool, it's easy to rearrange each day in response to changing priorities, so you remain organized but agile. Here's how you can apply this system yourself:

  • Find a tool. You can use any software you like, from Word or OneNote to a dedicated to-do manager, like Wunderlist. It just has to be easy to re-order entries.
  • List all the actionable tasks you need to complete for each of your projects.
  • Assess your tasks and give them deadlines.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Based on the deadlines you've already applied and the relative importance of each item, enter a priority for each item and make sure they are ordered in your list in priority order.
  • Get to work. Do each item in order -- no skipping around the list is allowed.
  • Each day, re-evaluate your rolling list. Add new items as needed and change the priority of items based on changing deadlines and conditions.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user john.schultz