One of the most valuable tools you can use to get things done is a to-do list. As a small business owner, your to-do list is a productivity tool that lets you accomplish tasks deliberately each day so that you no longer bounce from one deadline to the next.
Why Use a To-Do List?
Why should you and your employees should use a to-do list? Look at what it can help you handle and solve:
- Meeting business goals: Think of your to-do list as a map for your daily activities, prioritizing your efforts so you focus on the most important tasks and reach your business goals faster.
- Organization: A to-do list organizes your tasks, making them manageable and keeping you mentally focused.
- Productivity: When you break down your larger goals and tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, you can more easily complete the most important tasks to meet your goals.
- Motivation: Crossing off items on your to-do list helps you see your progress and feel a sense of motivation.
- Improved memory: Given that research shows that the average person’s short-term memory can only hold seven pieces of information in 30 seconds, you’re guaranteed to forget some things — which makes that to-do list priceless as it tracks everything you need to do.
Tips to Create a Productive To-Do List
The start of the work day or teven he night before is a great time to set your priorities for each day. If you’re strategic about what you hope to accomplish on a day-to-day basis, you can expect to cross things off your list each day. Keep it simple by listing only what you want to accomplish on a given day. Your list should be as short as possible to help you focus, and it should begin with your most important tasks for the day. For example, you might start the list with at least three items that you must accomplish today. This ensures that you complete meaningful stuff even if the rest of the list is untouched.
Connecting Your To-Do List to Your Business Plan and Calendar
Not sure where you should focus your time when making a to-do list? Refer to your business plan if you have one in place. This document keeps you focused on your overall goals as a company. By comparing your to-do list items with the goals stated on your business plans, you put yourself in a position to accomplish those goals.
Empower yourself by transferring items straight from your to-do list to your calendar. This tactic forces you to make specific choices about where and when you need to accomplish each item. It also helps you see whether you’re trying to cram more items into the day than a typical day can realistically hold. Slotting to-do items into an hour-by-hour calendar first thing in the morning can greatly increase your chances of accomplishing something important during the day.
Is Your Not-To-Do List Equally Important?
An addendum to your to-do list is your “not-to-do” list. On this list are the items that eat up your day so you don’t accomplish much at all. In this list, avoid:
- Taking over others’ work
- Redoing tasks that are already done
- Micromanaging other employees’ work
- Hovering over emails rather than dealing with them at a dedicated time each day
By being aware of the items you shouldn’t waste time on, you maximize your use of time through the day.
To-Do Lists at a Glance
Your handwritten to-do list puts you back in control of your time, lets you enjoy the little thrill that comes when you cross an item off the list, and empowers you to focus on what’s important. Do you want to improve your time management and productivity in the workplace even further? QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go. Download the app now.