Could Should Must: A Productivity Tool

Getting everything done that I set out to do is a daunting task. I’m a starter, not a finisher. This means lots of unfinished “to do” lists.

What do the words “could,” “should,” and “must” have in common? For me they are a framework for getting things done that I’ve recently adapted from my colleague Jim Eberline. Let me explain:

I create three columns. At the top of the first (Could), the second (Should), and the third (Must). Here’s what goes under each.

Could Should Must

Could Should Must

(1) Could
There are many things I technically “could” do but aren’t a priority for the day/week. These things should be kept on my mind but aren’t the most urgent.

(2) Should
These are the things that if today goes well, I’d love to get them done. Oftentimes I do and other times I don’t. But to be honest they fall in the should category because life would be better off if I did get them done.

(3) Must
These are the things that have to get done before the end of the day. In other words, if they don’t get done I’m in trouble or letting others down. These things have a deadline of “today or else.”

Complete the box in the upper right hand corner of your screen to get a copy of “Could Should Must” that has the tool created for you. All you need to do is save it to your computer and start entering your own information. As you use this, please let us know what thoughts you have for how to improve it or other productivity tools that help you in your daily life.

In case you are looking for other productivity tips and tricks, stay on the lookout on my blog for some new things we have coming and also take a look at Michael Hyatt’s page where he has many different resources available to help you be more productive with your life and work.