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Organize Your To-Do List For Maximum Impact

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by your To-Do List? Maybe it seems like you get one thing checked off only to have three more items added on?  It’s frustrating when this happens because we can feel like we’re stuck spinning our wheels, but not actually accomplishing anything. 

Let me introduce you to a technique that will help you organize and have maximum impact on your day and your life. It’s called a Priority List. 

organize your to-do list

Ditch the To-Do List for a Priority List

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Sometimes when our To-Do lists get overwhelming, it’s not just because there’s a lot to do – it’s because we don’t know where to start. We can get stuck doing “low impact” simple tasks. 

Creating a priority list will help you to avoid that “stuck” feeling. Focusing on completing the tasks that are the highest priority will give you momentum, and help you to have peace of mind knowing you’re spending your time doing things that are important to you.

The Three Levels of a Priority List 

According to the book, “The Joy Of Missing Out.” written by Tanya Dalton, after you get a clear idea of your priorities, it’s time to go through your To-Do List and organize every item into three “levels” or categories.   

start writing organize your to-do list

These categories will help you to know which tasks need your time and energy first.


The first level is “Escalate”. This is for tasks that are both important and urgent. These items are your first priority. 


The second level is “Cultivate”. This category is for tasks that are important to you, but not necessarily urgent. This is where you will be spending most of your time and energy because it allows you to produce your best work while in alignment with your purpose. 


The last level is “Accommodate”. According to Tonya Dalton, “These are tasks that are unimportant but urgent such as the majority of phone calls or emails we receive that don’t align with our purpose.” Try not to spend more time than necessary on these tasks. 

As you can see, there’s no space on your priority list for tasks that are both unimportant and not urgent. So don’t include them at all- they are only wasting your time. 

Tips for Organizing Your To-do List:

At first you may struggle to know if a task is important to you or simply just urgent, which means that sorting your tasks into the three levels can be challenging. If you’re struggling with deciding which category a task should be in then use Dalton’s “CLEAR Questions.” 

organize your to-do list

Clear Questions: 

If you answer yes to three or more questions, then that task is important to you. If you only answer yes to one or two questions then the task is just urgent, but not important. 

The CLEAR questions are: 

  • How is this task CONNECTED to my purpose? 
  • Is it LINKED to a goal?  
  • Is it ESSENTIAL?
  • How is it ADVANTAGEOUS?
  • Is it REALITY-based? 

These questions can help us identify our priorities and stay productive so we can make the biggest impact possible. Use these tips to organize your to-do list today!

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