I have always been trying to improve the way I work to be more efficient and to make sure I work on the right stuff so I have researched different tools and mechanisms to achieve this.
The basic one that most of us do is to have a notebook where we take note of what we have to do but I found this quite generic and tried more sophisticated things.
One of those things was Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. I bought the book and used the method for a while but realised that in my case it was becoming too intrusive and in certain situations was slowing me down instead of making me faster. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great tool but I am a big advocate for simplicity and balance and I felt I needed something a bit more lightweight. So I decided to design my own process which has ended up being something like this:
I simply use a notebook and follow a basic structure. I like the A5 Moleskine as is the size that seems to work better for me. The way it works it's basically every morning before opening my work laptop, I spend a few minutes (5 max) to note down the key things that I need to achieve that day and I identify which one is the highest priority. I have found 3 or 4 to be ideal as having many will possibly distract me. If I really need to get more done, I pick the top ones for the morning and reevaluate in the afternoon. As I'm working throughout the day, I strikethrough the ones that I have completed.
But obviously shit happens and if during the day something urgent that really needs to be done comes up, I just reevaluate my list at that point and identify where it sits in my priority for the day.
For me the key is something that I took from the GTD method: you should never leave lots of things in your head or they will end up using your mental energy and will start making you less productive. So every time there's anything important I think I will need to remember in the future, I jot it down in my notebook and evaluate it the next day.
A key aspect of this which seems trivial but makes a difference is that forcing you to pick just a few things helps you prioritise and give you a good feeling of accomplishment as is quite likely to achieve them.
Very recently I heard of the Ivy Lee method which is surprisingly similar, even though in that case the list of priorities is made at the end of each day.
In my case I find better doing this in the morning because that is the time when I can think more clearly and am full of energy.
I was quite pleased to see that may people use it too and it really seems to work well due to the low effort required to implement it.
Do you follow any method to keep you organised? Please feel free to share!