The Power of Now - How to make the perfect to do list in one minute

Updated: 6 days ago

This article introduces the MYN time management system, invented by the famous Time Management expert, Michael Linenberger. It shows how to use MYN to build a perfect to-do list. Try it, to give your productivity a real boost, and reduce your stress.

Now is all we have

We are all time travellers, on the same journey. Like strangers on a train. Behind us is our shared history. If we are old enough, we remember Kennedy and the moon landings. We don't remember Ancient Rome, but the history books tell us all about it.

Ahead of us is the future. Unknown and unknowable. Will Covid get us? Will my team win on Saturday? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Clap your hands once, now, as you are reading this. Oh sorry, I meant to ask you to clap twice. Too late, it’s in the past. You can clap again, but you can’t change the first clap.

The only time you can do anything at all, is right now. It’s the only thing we have.

How to make the perfect to do list in one minute - President Kennedy is part of our shared history

Photo of President Kennedy by History in HD on Unsplash

Master Your Now

A couple of years back I read a fascinating little book called The One Minute To-Do List, by the time management expert Michael Linenberger. I loved it. It told me how to manage time more successfully, to get things done.

I love this book so much that I want you to read it now. You can download it here, for free. Do it now. You won’t have to pay for it or register for anything.

Michael calls his method ‘Master Your Workday Now’, or MYN for short. That makes sense, as now is all we have.

Give the book a read over a cup of coffee, then come back to me here.

The One Minute To-Do List tells you how to make the perfect to do list in one minute

Writing stuff down

When I was a successful project manager, I learnt quickly that if you want something to happen, you have to write it down. It’s a chore, but it’s worth the pain.

If you read The One Minute To-Do List, you’ll know it only takes one minute to get started. Just do a brain dump of all the things that are in your head begging to get done.

Later in this article, I’m going to show you how to use a To-Do List app to capture your brain dump. But for now, just do it on paper. It will only take a minute. Your future self will look back at this moment and thank you.

List all the to-do’s in your head. We’ll call them ‘tasks’. As you are following Michael’s MYN method, you will put each task into one of three ‘Urgency Zones’. They specify the relationship your tasks have with Now. Here they are:

  • Critical Now

  • Opportunity Now

  • Over-the-Horizon

It’s as easy as that. When you have finished your one minute brain dump, you should have around five tasks that are ‘Critical Now’. That means you must do them today, before you go to bed.

The ‘Opportunity Now’ tasks are ones that you can do another day, if you run out of time today. But if you can find time to fit them in today, that will start to get you ahead of the game. Allow yourself up to twenty of these ‘Opportunity Now’ tasks. Keep an eye on them during the day.

Everything else goes into ‘Over-the-Horizon’. You will do them when you can. Exactly when that is, is lost in the mists of the unknowable future.

Using a to-do list app

There are many to-do list apps out there. I’m going to show you how to use TaskAngel Online to look after your one-minute to-do list.

Getting started with TaskAngel Online is really quick. Just follow this link and you’re in. This time, you will have to register with your email address and a password, but you won’t have to pay anything until your free trial is over. Registration allows TaskAngel to keep your tasks in a protected, secure database.

After you have registered, TaskAngel will show you an empty task list. It's empty because you haven’t typed anything in yet.

Before typing your tasks in, go to Settings and switch on a setting called ‘Set Up for MYN’. This tells TaskAngel you are following the MYN method, and you want to use urgency zones.

Set up TaskAngel for MYN to create your one minute to-do list

The TaskAngel Settings Page

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