… Think hard before you put something on the list that you carry around with you!
Whether this is the Reminders app built into Mac OS X and iPhone, or a third-party app like Clear, Remember The Milk, or Wunderlist, the one thing that these apps have in common is a lack of motivation to get things done.
A feature that all task-lists do offer, though, is the ability to postpone or let items linger endlessly.
Postponing endlessly? Eliminate that!
Your only motivator is inside of your own brain, and you are the one who controls what gets done in your life. So, optimize!
If something is longterm or projected 🌤
Create a separate “Goals” list for these things.
If something is travel related, for example, stick that into a “Travel” list if you can't go there right now, or create separate lists for each place or general area that you'd like to go to.
Try to actually complete some of these lists 🏃🏼
Generally, what I've found is that when you begin getting a lot of things done, you start to more actively compare the completed tasks to the other pending items in your list that you might never do.
At this point, it's easier just to remove the undesirable tasks from the list altogether as you move forward to new ones. — This is, of course, if you realized much later after adding something else that you'd never get around to it. Try to avoid this!
Don't put work-related stuff on your task list 💼
ADDED 2013/08/25: This is a big one! — Keep your head clear, and keep your personal and work lives separate.
Even if it's for your own personal projects or business, keep it away from the things you need to do when you need a break from all of that.
Sometimes, you just have to eat “humble pie” and do stuff 🥧
If there's a task in your list that you don't want to do, but you know that you need to do it, spend a day on that task and just get it done if you can.
Small progress is still progress, and not every day can be a slam dunk. — Alternatively, break that big task up into separate “sub-tasks” that dictate what's left and how you can get it done more gradually. This will allow you to delete the original task that was lingering, and move forward.
For very large tasks (or projects), try to create a separate task list for those entirely, and, within that, create small tasks or notes that ultimately “chip-away” at it over-time.
Use your calendar, instead! 📆
If there's something that you can't do or won't do because it's too soon to be able to complete successfully… don't leave it in your task list!
Create a calendar entry instead that will remind you later in life so that you can forget about it for now. — If you end up somehow doing that task anyway in the meantime, you can just ignore or delete the calendar entry afterward!
Stay organized and capable
… Don't let a massive task backlog become a burden in your life instead of a productivity tool! Seriously.
Keep a clear head, and a clear list. (Is that why it's called “Clear?” 😉)