I’m a big picture person. My natural tendency is to focus less on the details and more on the big picture.

This can get me into trouble when I get into a planning phase. After I finish a big project I like to make lists and plan out everything I want to do for the next few months. My mind gets so excited about all the possibilities and options I have in the coming months that it loses the singular focus required to dive into a particular task.

When this happens, I look at my list and identify the thing that is most important and pressing right now. I ignore everything else and just focus on that. It can be hard because everything seems exciting and important, but when you force yourself to make a decision you will know which item needs to get done first.

Tim Ferriss asks these two questions for each item on his to do list:

“If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
“Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”

It’s hard to ignore things you want to do. But you can’t do two things at once, so pick one and ignore everything else. They will be there when you get back.