If you’re feeling overwhelmed and underwater with too many tasks on your to-do list, try a priority framework to surface what you should do next. These frameworks weigh value differently, and help clarify what and why.

Yoda’s to-do list: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

In the famous scene, Luke fails to lift his X-Wing from the swamp, saying, “it’s impossible” and “I don’t believe it” when Yoda does it. “That, is why you fail," the little green Jedi snaps.

Yoda’s priority system is binary. Do it — with full faith, without knowing the outcome — or don’t even put it on your list. Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” is similar: keep it, or thank it and let it go.

Eisenhower: “What is important is seldom urgent”

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th US President who planned the D-Day Battle of Normandy, led the allies to victory over fascism in WWII, and served as the president of Columbia University and the Supreme Commander of NATO. He had a lot on his plate.

The well-known Eisenhower Matrix takes two variables — importance over urgency — to establish priority. Important/not urgent: plan it. Important/urgent: do it. Not important/Not urgent: let it go. Not important/urgent: delegate it.

Quick wins vs. thankless slogs: impact over effort

This is a standard product management decision matrix that considers the difficulty of the work and likely reach. High effort/low impact: a thankless task. high effort/high impact: major task. Low effort/low impact: fill-ins for later when you have extra time. Low effort/high impact: quick wins, often the sweet spot.

Flow vs. grind: focused attention over impact

How much energy do you have to focus? This matrix considers your natural highs and lows to pick off tasks appropriate to the moment. High focus/low value: study. High focus/high impact: flow. Low focus/low impact: coast. Low focus/high impact: grind.

You can create a matrix framework against any two values: Risk over Reversibility, Change over impact, Quality over Complexity, Leverage over Skill. Each creates a lens over your tasks, to bring into focus what’s important, and why. What works for you?