Are you Overwhelmed with Things to do?

A review of  The One Minute To-Do List by Michael Linenberger

If your seriously into writing, you’re busy.  I know I am.  

Have you got a lot of projects going? Have you tried to-do lists and time-management systems in the past–but they didn’t work that well for you?  Consider a new approach to the old time-management challenge.

A couple weeks ago I was frustrated.

I have several wiring projects I’m working on, and at times I didn’t know where to begin. I use a to-do list program called “Swift To-Do List 7.” It’s powerful and easy to get up and running. But I was struggling with setting my priorities and coming up with a schedule I would stick with.

I remembered that the author of the to-do list program I use has a blog ( that I have found helpful at times, so I went there and found a blog post that described a system that that author recommends. I tried it and found it quick to implement.  In fact, it’s called “The One-Minutge To-Do List.”

I’ve been using it since then, and it’s  helped me get a grip on my projects and  even defeat most of my procrastination tendencies.

For me, it’s a brilliant and powerful time-management tool.

Its core involves listing tasks you need to do into 3 categories:

  • “Urgent Now” for what must be done today. Period. (Recommended maximum number of tasks: up to 5 or so.)
  • “Opportunity Now”  for tasks you’d like to do today if there’s time but should get to within the next 10 days. (recommended maximum : 20.)  And…
  • “Over the Horizon” for any tasks you can delay starting for over 10 days or more.

That’s not all there is to the system.

But that much you can get working for you right away. You can use this system on paper or with any of a number of to-do list programs, and be up and running in minutes.

By the way, you can download the book in .pdf format, free in exchange for your email address, here:

The book is a quick read, and I like his ideas well enough that I bought his advanced book:  Master Your Workday Now!: Proven Strategies to Control Chaos, Create Outcomes, & Connect Your Work to Who You Really Are.  It explores further refinements and additions to the core system.

Michael Linenberger knows what he’s talking about.

He has been a management consultant and technology professional for over 20 years. He previously led the technology department at the U.S. Peace Corps and has been called “The Efficiency Guru” by the Detroit News.  He has been a management consultant for over than 20 years. (Background information adapted from the author’s summary at

If you’d like to get a better grip on all the things you need to do, check out this book. It’s available as described above and in online book stores.

(Disclaimer:  I’m not affiliated in any way with Mr. Linenberger, except as a customer. And you can download his “One-minute” book free, just as I did.)

Do you have any favorite to-do list systems, programs or tips to share?

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2 thoughts on “Are you Overwhelmed with Things to do?

  1. Amy Deardon

    Bill, what a GREAT post! As they say, we all have 24 hours, but it’s amazing how the time just can… evaporate. I find often I will have a spare hour and do “nothing,” then think, oh gee, I wish I’d remembered to finish some task. My husband swears by lists. I don’t make them work for me, although occasionally am so desperate I compose a quick one. Thank you for the organizing tips.

    Organizational tips? Not really. I stick with just a few things I “always” need to do, and go around the circle. For writing I have a few projects that I put in a folder on my desktop — I have nothing else on the desktop, so can find the projects easily. I try to get rid of stuff when I’m finished, although don’t always remember… for example, I’ll have three drafts of an article, and if I haven’t worked on it for a few days have to go by the date to figure out which is the right one. Sigh. Am I hopeless?

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks, Amy,
      Yes, it’s so easy to get the easy tasks done or to find something to do besides what needs to be done. I like being organized, but the bottom line I keep reminding my self is: how much did I really get done, to-do list or not? Ultimately, the list is just a tool (though sometimes a toy). And anyway, you’ve gotten a lot accomplished. And that I admire.


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