my ‘top 5’ to do list items for the day.

try as i might to use online task management tools (i’ve tried them all – google keep, wrike, basecamp, evernote, even the notes app on my phone) it just never sticks.

i’m an old fashioned paper and pen gal. to be precise – a moleskin and a .05mm black ink pen. the size of moleskin varies from year to year – some years i’m all about the 8 x 11 size and others it’s the 5 x8. regardless the notebooks always end up looking the same. lists and lists and lists.

every couple days or week i’ll write out a mega list. a pure brain dump of everything i need to get done. it’s in no order of importance… ‘lunch new company wide core value program’ could be on the line right after ‘buy more perrier’ but that’s just the first step. from there, everyday i’ll write out my top 5.

my ‘top 5’ is the top 5 items from that mega list that i’ve just got to get done that day. my top 5 isn’t a concept i came up with – i think i read it in scaling up – but it’s an amazing tool.

my top 5 might be smaller things that i need to do to just keep my life on track (ie: book my son’s summer camps) – or it might be those bigger work items that i need to get a chunk done of that day – so for those i might write – ‘work on core values deck’.

regardless the top 5 are the things that are most important that i work on that day. and the scope of those top 5 depends on what else i’ve got going on. if it’s an all day meetings day – i might only be able to list out smaller things from my big list on to my top 5 list. if i’ve got a good clean day to power thru stuff then those bigger projects make the list.

the act of having the top 5 things i have to do today helps me feel stay focused and feel productive. crossing off 5 things each day feels great and makes my big list more manageable.


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