We all know how cluttered a desktop can get.
I have tons of screenshots, random files, spreadsheets, docs, folders, and whatnot.
It sounds scary, but there is a system to this chaos.
Once a day, I go through every file on my desktop, put it into a folder, or delete it right away. In a matter of 5 to 10 minutes, my desktop is back to normal.
There's a big chance that your mental desktop looks like this.
Mine often does.
I put everything on it throughout the day. Thoughts and ideas on my running projects. Goals. Things to buy. People to call. Books to read, articles to explore.
It's all there.
The more stuff I put on it, the more cluttered it gets, the harder for me to think clearly and act with intention.
Here's what you should do.
Sit in a quiet place with a cup of coffee or tea.
Get a sharp pencil and a sheet of paper. Or, if you prefer digital, give nuli.st a try (more on this in a moment).
Make these three lists, one after the other:
As obvious as it may sound, this is your most important list for the day.
My favorite technique when it comes to to-do lists is the so-called "1-2-3 technique".
Here's the gist.
You can only do one big task, 2 medium tasks, and 3 smaller ones in a day.
It's that simple.
I like to add a twist to the framework, though.
After I've written down my 1-2-3 tasks, I like to dump all the tasks that didn't make it to the top.
These are tasks that are not so urgent but are taking some mental space up there. Writing a to-do list is the best way to free up some of that processing power for your brain.
I like to make a list of 5 to 15 monthly tasks at the beginning of each month. I usually do it on the first Sunday of the current month, but you could do it anytime.
Once I have it, I review it every day, adding new items to it or prioritizing the ones that are more urgent, moving them to the 1-2-3 daily list.
Don't go into details, though. This is not a strategy document, nor an action plan with many subtasks. It's a high-level overview of where your focus should go this month.
I urge you to be as concise as possible.
Try to stick to 3-5 words per item, as the primary reason for this list to exist is to provide a skeleton for your best month.
Remember, an architect doesn't start designing a house from the furniture. They sketch the "shell" first.
That's what this list is all about. Stay focused.
This is my favorite list of all, as there are no rules in it!
You list down whatever is on your mind.
The idea is to see your thoughts. Once you see them, they're no longer abstract. They get moved from your mental desktop to a folder in your mind if you stick to the analogy.
Here's an example from one of my latest trash lists.
It doesn't have to be perfect.
Go for raw, unedited, direct writing. Don't look for the right words, and don't bother with the punctuation.
Spill your thoughts on the list and forget about it.
That's the beauty of it.
Nulist is the perfect digital companion when it comes to making lists.
It's simple, intuitive and feels like a real-world blank sheet...with digital superpowers.
The free plan is quite generous, so why don't you give it a spin and make your first three most important lists there?
Mental clutter is a thing.
That's why we need to make decluttering a habit.
It's not rocket science - all you need is a couple of lists and 15 minutes a day!
Even though a pencil and paper would do, nulist is a great digital companion if you need to reference some links or other "zeros-and-ones" information out there.
Have fun, make lists and stay calm!
Do you want to learn nifty tricks on how to leverage the power of lists and become the best version of your productive self?