Like everyone else, I suffer from having tons of conflicting priorities and many days it seems like my systems for keeping me focused on my top priorities aren’t working. Off and on, I have used systems like Get Things Done , by David Allen (too complicated for me personally), The Power of Less by Leo Babauta, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Covey (the time management quadrant is very powerful).
Lately I have been using a simple system I picked up from Cameron Herold at BackPocketCOO. It works like this. At the end of the day and before you go to bed at night, write down your top 5 goals for the next day. First thing in the morning before reading email or doing any work, look at your goals and visualize how you will get them done. You will work on these 5 tasks until they are all done. You don’t relax until they are complete. Keep the list somewhere where it is in plain view – a yellow sticky or a list on your pc. You don’t work on anything else that comes up during the day because it is not a priority. Once you complete your list, you can relax, perhaps reward yourself with a glass of wine after dinner. Then set your list for the next day and repeat.
You may be able to effectively manage a 6 or 10 point list, but I would encourage you to stay around 5 if you want to avoid diluting yourself. It is important that you write them out not just store them in your mind as it increases the commitment to stick to them.
Sometimes the simplest tricks are the best.