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What You Want: To find more hours in the day.

Writing a to-do list might make you feel better—but it's not always the best way to get things done. In his book Get Smart! How to Think, Decide, Act, and Get Better Results in Everything You Do, author and business consultant Brian Tracy proposes revising that list with what he calls a "triage" exercise. His name for this is ABCDE. First, you need to establish which of your tasks is most important. Instead of thinking about what work is required, or how you'll get it completed, simply consider the consequences of not getting it done. Category A jobs have "serious potential consequences," writes Tracy, if you don't tackle them. B jobs are less important than those in the first category, but not doing them has mild consequences. C jobs can be done with breaks along the way. D jobs can be delegated. And E is for tasks that can be eliminated. Put a letter next to each "to-do" on your list, revise the order alphabetically and start with the A's.