Prioritize 1 to 5
This is something that I bumped into and had to mold a little bit to make work in my life. It came as an exercise in the book, Sprint by Jake Knapp. This book is about optimizing the creative entrepreneurial process, but I quickly realized that it had applications more generally. The book talks about prioritizing potential entrepreneurial ideas and solutions on a 1-5 scale, and I liked the concept so much that I started using it when prioritizing my tasks.
As random things come up, acknowledge them by writing them down and assigning a 1-5 priority ranking.
This quick assignment helps me hone in on exactly where I should be spending my time and has increased my productivity as well as my ability to make deadlines. It also has helped me transition quicker between tasks because I waste less time deciding what to do next, and get straight into what is next on the priority list.
What I do is I keep a pocket notebook on me everywhere I go, and as tasks add on, I jot it down and assign a number 1-5. This way it can be kept out of my mind until I am ready to address it and I don’t let it distract me when it presents itself. When I complete the task, the action of physically crossing it out has become associated with accomplishment, so it also serves as a source of motivation.
So, that sounds like a pretty good place to start. Keep a pen and piece of paper on you and write down all of the things you need to do, and quickly assess their importance on a 1-5 scale. Then, let it be out of sight, and out of mind until the time comes to encounter it head on!