Productivity hack – ditch the to do list!
Take a look at your to do list today – how many items are on it? Five, 10, 50 or more?
Do you get slightly overwhelmed looking at this seemingly never ending list? A long to do list can cause you to stress. In fact you’ve probably already wasted time deliberating over where to start.
The biggest problem with ‘to do lists’ is that they lack the detail you need to work out when and how you’ll be able to get things done. What hope have you got of ticking things off the list if you don’t know if you even have the time to do them?
Here are tips to help you turn that ‘to do list’ into your ‘done list’.
Be practical and prioritise
Start by prioritising your list. Start with the things that you’re going to get the most return out of for your business.
Actions you need to take to build your business are often forgotten because you have too many more urgent things to do in a day. Too many small and medium-sized business owners fall into the trap of working ‘in’ the business and not ‘on’ it.
Make sure your priorities include the big things, like business development and planning, that may take more time, not just the little things you can tick off your list quickly.
Let’s face it, there are going to be some items on your list that are just never going to get done. Be ruthless and get rid of them. Are there any items on the list that you can delegate or outsource? You need to be focussing on the high-value actions.
Take a look at your list every morning and consider how to outsource the small stuff to free up your time to tackle your priorities.
Be realistic about time
There are only 24 hours in a day. Less if you’re the type of person who likes to eat, sleep, exercise and socialise.
When you break it down, this doesn’t leave you much time to get through your never-ending list. Have a look at your priority tasks and estimate the time it will take to complete each task.
Once you’ve worked out your priorities and know how much time you need to complete your key tasks, schedule them into your day and week. Start by blocking time on Sunday night or Monday morning to schedule your week, then review your schedule each day. Block time in your diary to complete the tasks you need to complete.
By doing this, you can realistically work out what you can get done and by when. You’ll feel the stress float away straight away and you’ll be more productive.
Originally published October 8 2016 , updated April 27 2017