Writing a to-do list every morning when you get to work probably isn’t doing you any favors. So how can you ensure you’re hitting your peak of productivity on a daily basis?

Working at your most productive is about truly understanding your day-to-day priorities and tackling them accordingly. While that might make it seem like you can write a to-do list and start crossing tasks off the list, just doing that probably isn’t going to get you working to your full potential.

Paul J. Meyer said, “Productivity is never and accident. It is always a result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

For the sake of argument, let’s say you’ve got that commitment to excellence down (would you be reading this article if you didn’t?), and that even writing that good old to-do list is a sign that you possess focused effort.

So, the real question is: do you spend enough time planning?

Intelligent planning can be the difference between getting a handful of tasks complete, and conquering a mountain of them on a daily basis. Here are three simple steps for planning your work, and pumping up that productivity:

Step One: At the end of every work day, take out a piece of paper and list on it all the tasks you need to complete the next day.

Start your list by checking your calendar for any scheduled calls, meetings, or other activities. This is a no-brainer: planning your day is useless if you don’t take into account previous commitments.

After that, add any tasks you planned to complete today but didn’t, since these are probably becoming more urgent. Finally, list everything else that, ideally, you’d accomplish tomorrow.

It’s crucial to do this step the night before. This way, you’re giving your brain time to start addressing some of the tasks immediately: it can begin to unconsciously solve problems, even while you sleep. Also, you may have a realization concerning a task, or remember something that you initially forgot to put on your list.

This doesn’t mean you should spend your entire evening and night worrying about the next day’s tasks. If you do have a realizations, simply alter your to-do list on your phone, set yourself a notification, and let it go.

Knowing the next day’s plan will have you feeling prepared, every day. Best of all, having things under control will banish any “am I forgetting something?” anxiety so you’re not wasting any energy on worry.

Step Two: Categorize each task listed.

Sort out which tasks are vital to complete, which are important, and which are optional.

The most helpful way to categorize them is “A,” “B,” and “C.” “A” represents the imperative tasks; “B” tasks are those that are significant but have a small amount of leeway. Finally, “C” tasks are the ones that you’d like to get done, but aren’t particularly urgent or important on that particular day.

Step Three: Number tasks.

Begin with your “A” tasks and number them, beginning with 1 and finishing with the final “A” task. Then do the same for “B” and “C” ones. This is your new, much-improved to-do list; you can begin the next day by tackling “A1” and so on, or you can write out a new list with all the tasks in order.

You may also decide to schedule when you will work on tasks in your calendar. If you do this, keep in mind due dates as well as those times during which you’re most productive. For example, if you work best in the afternoon and have a presentation due at 2pm on a given day, do yourself a favor and schedule time to work on the finishing touches the afternoon before the days it’s due, and not that morning when you’re still trying to wake up.

Finally, look for opportunities to do more—for example, answering some emails during your daily commute to work can trim a bit of fat from your task list, and keep you a lean, mean, productive machine.

As a sales manager, it’s crucial to make sure your road warriors are as productive as when they’re in the office. Download the free e-book for tips.