A few weeks ago I went through a training class at work about prioritizing and organizing tasks. Basically, it was predicated on the idea that if you write something down, you'll stop thinking about it (consciously or otherwise). I already knew this about myself, but I thought it was just me, so I didn't write a book about it. The class was more-or-less based on a book called "Getting Things Done" (highly recommended on Amazon) which is less about how to prioritize and what urgency means (Covey, anyone?), and more direct and step-by-step. There's even a flow chart. I was excited about the few ideas I got from the class, and saw a lot of potential, not so much at work, but at home. Anyone who knows me well and has been invited to my home knows that I'm a little cluttered and have a lot of stuff. I like to blame it on my excessive creativity (sans insanity, of course.) And I also have stuff-intensive hobbies. Yeah, that's the ticket.
So I bought the book and followed the instructions. Somehow, I don't feel like I did that much work, but my apartment is already cleaner (you can come over if you'd like, and I won't have to clean up first...much) and I've gotten a lot of things done that I didn't even know needed to be done. (Also, the first thing I did after the class was turn off the e-mail notification icon on my work computer. I felt more free and relaxed immediately. I highly recommend it.)
I feel that in the past I approached "things to do" with the question Do You Need to be Done Right Now? Since most things don't need to be done Right Now, they all got put aside in a pile. A mail pile. A bills pile. A Mail I've Looked at but Want to Look at Again Later pile. An I Don't Know What to Do With This...I'll Figure It Out Later pile. It was really ridiculous once I started thinking of them differently. The new way is Can You be Done in Two Minutes? in which case I do it. If not, it gets put aside, but put on a list. And anything that needs to get kept for later reference, gets filed. In a folder. No matter what it is.
I've also been trying Remember The Milk, an online list-management service which has a tutorial on the associated blog regarding how to GTD with RTM (Getting Things Done with Remember The Milk).
Anyway, I don't want to get into too many details; it'll just bore you. But I recommend it. Buy the book. (Or borrow it from the library; my library didn't have it, and I don't mind supporting my local Barnes & Noble periodically.)
Stuff is Getting Done.