The modern world is so full of distractions, it’s easy to keep paying attention to things that don’t help us reach our goals. Or we get so overwhelmed with a multitude of things worthy of our attention that we get stuck and can’t focus on any of them. We must consciously choose what to focus on and that means prioritizing.
Advice on productivity and task management and dealing with life in general tells you to use a to-do list to keep track of things that need doing, and a calendar or a schedule to keep track of things you need to do at an exact point in time. And of course, there’s the advice of adopting daily habits for things you want to improve. A better way of dealing with this issue is to plan out your day and combine all of the tasks and habits and appointments together in one place.
We're so used to the usual format for a to-do list that we rarely stop to think if it actually works for us. Maybe something a bit different would work better. Try to experiment and find new formats for your tasks, keep what works (or at least doesn't get in your way), and lose the rest. Here's a bunch of ideas to try out!
The main point of the brain dump is to write things down without thinking about them (too much). The next step is where you start thinking and organizing and categorizing and prioritizing. That's what gets you a good to-do list - and a good to-do list is invaluable for actually achieving your goals!
A "productivity system" is the name of the process and any tools you use to make sure you do the things you want and need to do. It might also be a name for something someone might sell you, all in the name of "doing more in less time". What's the simplest productivity system which will let you get a grip on your life?