Or, imagine you’re in a sales role and have a long list of people who you need to talk to. You write out a checklist of everyone you need to call and every client you need to see, and start prioritizing.
In the professional world, checklists are a huge component to the daily work of pilots and surgeons. Detailed step-by-step checklists help fight complacency in the cockpit, and maintain safe operation of the aircraft during all phases of flight, from gate to gate. In hospitals, medical teams use checklists to ensure surgical procedures go smoothly.
Run through these checklists allocating priorities from A (very important, or very urgent) to F (unimportant, or not at all urgent). If too many tasks have a high priority, run through the list again and demote the less important ones. Once you have done this, rewrite the list in priority order.
By keeping such a checklist, you make sure that your tasks are written down all in one place so you do not forget anything important. And by prioritizing tasks, you plan the order in which you’ll do them, so that you can tell what needs your immediate attention, and what you can leave until later.