For the last 10–12 years, I’ve been applying the Getting Things Done (GTD) “techniques” such as Inbox Zero, the 2-minute rule, etc.
I’ve collected and organized my todo items (both personal and professional) in never-ending prioritized lists.
These techniques have helped me keep a great level of control over everything that crosses my radar and that I need/want to take care of.
Here’s what I do!
Thanks to GTD techniques and motivation, I’ve been able to be very productive most of the time, which has helped me make great progress in my career as a software engineer and as a manager, as well as in my personal projects (e.g., starting my own company, writing a book about the TypeScript programming language, etc.)
But in recent years I’ve kept feeling more and more overwhelmed by the amount of things to do, which recently motivated me to take a good hard look at how I organize my days and to try and find ways to feel less overwhelmed and more in control of my time.
To reach that goal, I’ve read quite a few interesting books, but the one that struck me the most was “Make Time” by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky (https://maketime.blog/), which I definitely recommend.
I could definitely recognize myself in many of the stories in that book.
Since I read it, I’ve started to experiment and I now define my highlight (most important task) each day, whether it is something for work, leisure, a boring chore or anything else. All that matters is that there’s just one major thing that I want to try my best at and dedicate my energy to achieve / make progress on.
The approach, techniques and tricks proposed by Jake & John are quite simple and intuitive, but they are really effective and act like a nice toolbox to hack our way around the busyness of modern life (which Jake and John refer to as the busy bandwagon) and the constant and infinite distractions around us (Facebook, mailbox, Netflix and the like: https://maketime.blog/article/distractions-are-a-nuisance-but-infinity-pools-are-the-real-problem/).