Divide your to-do list by context
Does your paper to-do list get too unwieldy? Do you get overwhelmed by "home" to-dos cluttering your list while you're busy with work? Here's Hillary's practical solution:
I don't think I can take credit for this hack but I'd like to send it along since it has saved me: I write my daily to-do list using three note pads (or post-it notes), with each pad getting its own category.
By splitting my list into contexts, I only have to look at the items I can do at that time. It makes my day feel so much more manageable.
My categories are Work, Home and Errands. I make the lists every day while I sip my coffee and boot my computer, and I try to be specific about each item—avoiding things like "Clean."
Set out chicken to thaw
Girl Scouts tonight
Price new tires
1 load of laundry
CVS: toothbrush, toothpaste
Such a great idea. Separate lists give you plenty of room for doodling, but you can also create separate columns on a single sheet of paper (if you won't find that too distracting).
I use an iPhone-based to-do list app (Things) and I've created context-based tags for the very same purpose. When I'm working, I only show the "Work" to-dos in my list. It really helps me focus.
If you're a fan of pre-printed lists, check out this clever option from Buttoned Up (one of my favorite organizing companies): NothingElse.Pad. Prioritizing is built right in, and they have separate spots for home and work.
How do you keep your to-do list working for you?
More: To-do list hacks