Michael Linenberger’s ‘Total Workday Control’

This is perhaps the best to-do system for those who want a very simple technique – that nevertheless keeps your priorities in order.

This system uses

  • pen and paper
  • optional word processor, or other digital writing tools.


The system uses three lists (on two pieces of paper), but it can also be used on a free Microsoft Word template.

The two lists on the first page are for items that you would stay at work late to finish today (Urgent Now), and things you would like to do. A third page or pages is for ‘over the horizon’ events.

There is an excellent free introduction on Michael’s website, and you can also read about add-inns for Microsoft Outlook. Let us know if you find anything for other email services, such as Gmail.


  • Simple to use. Won’t fill your head with too many things to remember.
  • Easy to maintain.


  • Requires you to manually move things between lists, and remember to go this.
  • Lists can become long.


  • Works well with the Pomorodo Technique (timed tasks), to help you actually finish the jobs on your list
  • Also an automatic reminder (email, calendar etc) to remind you to review your lists is helpful, and available on Michael’s website.

Our Rating


A smart, minimal addition to the classic To-Do list.

Your Thoughts

Have you tried this system? What are your experiences working with it? Any pros, cons, variations, or tips?

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