Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your workload?
Do you find you can’t keep up with critical deadlines?
I know you don’t want to hear this, but … You’re probably not managing your time well enough.
To Make A List … Or Not
A to-do list that works is more than a list of all the things you need to accomplish. A useful to-do list is a list of all the things you need to have accomplished, prioritized from most important to least important.
Having a list of to-dos will keep you aware of what needs to be on your radar and keep your brain happy that you aren’t forgetting anything.
Now, I’m sure you have a great memory, don’t get me wrong.
But as a busy business owner, it’s vital that you don’t rely on your memory to get things done. Writing down what you need to do is a valuable step that makes it a lot less likely that things will fall through the cracks.
Consequences of Not Prioritizing
To successfully build and manage your business you need to have your priorities front and center. Prioritizing your tasks will take away unnecessary worry and help cut down on your stress level, allowing you to be more productive and valuable to your team and clients.
If you’re not effectively managing your workload or your time, it will inevitably come back to bite you.
The last thing you want is to appear unreliable or unorganized to those around you, whether they be clients or potential collaborators.
How to Make A To-Do List
Creating a well prioritized to-do list sounds incredibly simple, right?
And yet, it’s actually surprising how many entrepreneurs fail to prioritize their tasks at all.
In order to make the most effective use of a to-do list, it helps to follow some steps.
- Step 1: Jot down all tasks that need to be completed. It may be easier to create several lists with different categories. You could have one for your business, one for home life, etc. You might even have categories for your business and create separate to-do lists for the different areas. (Not mandatory, just an option.)
- Step 2: This second step allows you to give each task a priority rating from 1, or very important, to 10, or least important. You might find that most of your list is compiled of high priority tasks. That’s okay! Just run through your list once more and determine which tasks can be downgraded slightly in order to balance things out. You have to start somewhere, right? So get clear on the highest priority items and label them appropriately.
- Step 3: Now that you have a strong feel for exactly what needs to get done (and in what order), it’s time to get working! Start at the top of your list and work your way through it, one task at a time. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by other items on the list. Focus on the highest priority task and work on it first. If necessary, put your to-do list away while working on a task, in order to help you focus.
It may take some time to generate your highly effective to-do list and especially to prioritize it. But once you get in the habit of doing so, it will get easier and easier. You’ll find yourself naturally prioritizing to-do items as they reach your desk and you’ll be able to easily focus on the highest priority of the day.
The end result is increased productivity, reduced stress and anxiety, and the ability to focus on what most needs your attention without being distracted. And those skills will create the results that allow you to build your business!