It is called, "write the things you need to do into the current day in your datebook, and then do them."
You see, I have tried various methods of getting things done (a.k.a. "GTD" to the nerds amongst you, and please note: I will not call it that) including a number of excellent tips and tricks J has picked up listening to productivity podcasts and reading books on the topic.
Like the "power hour" idea he shared with me once, where you work for ten minutes, and then you get to take a break for two. Repeat, repeat, repeat. This works wonders when I'm having trouble starting a project, and I often find that when I really get going, I don't even need the two-minute break.
I also use a program called Things to list the various items I must complete, which I like a lot, because I can add a bunch of ideas at once when I'm feeling overwhelmed, and later categorize them and give myself deadlines.
Sometimes, however, I don't open Things right away, or I do and I think, "That looks like a lot of stuff!" Then I close it.
So I turned to the lovely date book J got me for Christmas, which has colorful, decorative birds on the cover. This date book doesn't really have a purpose, since several months ago I admitted that I needed to get with the program and start using the calendar on my phone like everybody else in the world (and quickly realized everyone else in the world was correct, it is SO much easier than the paper version).
But the date book...with the birds! I carried it around in my bag because I liked it so much, but didn't have much use for it.
Until one incredibly busy morning, when, feelling rushed and knowing I had to get a lot done in a short period of time, I took out the date book and wrote a short list of things that absolutely had to be done that day. Right there where I could see them, in the small space allotted for the current date. I would cross them off as I went.
And that's what I've been doing since. Not every day, but when I need a quick primer on what lies ahead, an overview of my priorities. It's something I can look at in the evening after the kids have gone to bed - without having to pick up my phone or computer - and think, "You didn't do this one thing. Do you have the energy to work on that right now for 20 minutes?"
Sometimes I do!
Sometimes I do not.
Either way, it'll be there in the morning, a happy reminder of something I completed, or an item that still needs my attention. Maybe one day I'll write my own productivity book. Although I sincerely doubt it, considering my most powerful ideas so far are: 1. Write everything down and 2. Do not catch up on "Scandal" in the middle of the day.