If you are reading our blog you have some interest in productivity and time management (or you’re just a sucker for punishment.)  If you fall into the first group you most likely use lists in some form or another to manage “what” you need to get done.

I use a method called AutoFocus to manage my activities which I have blogged about in the past.  I combine this with the GTD method of defining next actions.

The issue for me is that when I come in some mornings, I can get a bit foggy in the head when scanning my list of 50+ action items.  The AutoFocus system works to ensure that I am doing important work, but sometimes I need to take it one step further.  That’s when I start an MDL – Must Do List.

The MDL is usually 2-3 actions that I know I need to get done that day.  It is a second layer of focus that I sometimes need to really target in on getting things done.  I will use a sticky note or one of my ubiquitous 3×5 cards to write the few items down and put it right on my desk.

Once I complete my MDL (which tends to happen quickly due to the increased focus) I go back to using AutoFocus to review and work my list.