In our everyday lives there is so much to do!

Business owners seem to have endless tasks to accomplish and often feel overwhelmed by this. What can you do to complete your tasks on time? There are many aspects to being organized but in this brief blog post I would like to deal with just one thing that can make a huge difference to both your work and home life. What is this? The title of this blog post gives it away!

To Do Lists

Many years ago I attended a time management course and the one piece of advice that made a huge difference to me was the use of a To Do List. Everyday have a list with you. Some people like to use online lists, phone apps or online calendars that can be timed to remind you and checked off as done. Others like a simple notebook to write them down and easy access at anytime.

The secret to making a to do list work is as follows: 

1  Either number in order of importance your tasks to be done or write them down in that order.

2 Take the task that you least like and do that first - often people slow down when a task is particularly difficult and try to avoid or delay doing it, even subconsciously. Get those hard to make discussions or phone calls done and you will feel better for the rest of the day.

3  Any tasks that are not so important today might become very important tomorrow so at the end of the day write your next day to do list and prioritise those to a higher level. 

It's important to note that sometimes emergencies will crop up and that suddenly you will have a new task that will have to go to the top of your to do list. You need to be flexible. Tasks can be divided into 2 categories, those that must be done and those that are optional. Within the first category there will be those that are urgent and those that can be done when possible. The must be done items are the main things that you will think of when you make your list. However, what about those things that are going be long term goals that could easily be forgotten if not listed somewhere? 

Long term goals

For these long term goals it is good to have a separate list, however look at each goal and break it down into manageable tasks and add these to your everyday to do list as they need doing. Once done tick them off your long term goal list. Following that look at the next task to be done and add it to your daily list.
 
Having a to do list is a real time saver and also makes you more efficient. Without a list it is easy to miss tasks that should be done causing you to chase your own tail playing catch up. It can also have a very detrimental effect on your business when customers are let down by poor service. 

If you're not making full use of to do lists start today!

About the author

Roland Millward is a director of The Wiltshire Business Club. He helps business owners get more out of using social media and you can visit his websites at  RolandMillward.com and SendaTweet.com for more details.
 


Comments

04/11/2016 9:09am

Can you recommend any good task management software. I have tried a few without great success.

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04/11/2016 11:02am

I like doing the "Eat That Frog" technique with to-do lists where you do the hardest or least-attractive tast first, before anything else. Getting the task you least want to do first means the rest of the day seems that little bit easier!

Also, Trello is a wonderful (FREE!) tool for managing to-do lists.

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04/11/2016 10:34pm

I love to do lists and use them all of the time but having read your blog I've realised how inefficiently I've been using my lists. Going forwards I will be using your suggestions to optimise the use of my to do lists. Thank you.

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