Tips for Tackling Your Business To-Do List
Updated: May 16, 2022
How many tasks and responsibilities are you juggling trying to run your small business each week? It often feels like the to-do list is never-ending. If you are managing a team, keeping up with accounting requirements, and trying to stay proactive in business development it is likely that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. Without an effective time-management strategy it's difficult to stay afloat and some of your most important priorities may likely be falling through the cracks and that's no bueno.
One of the best ways to be more efficient in your business is by prioritizing your to-do list. Consider the tasks that add value first, then design your to-do list so these things are always done right away. Here are a few effective strategies to ensure that you are prioritizing value-add tasks:
1. Do the important, not the urgent Is your daily schedule driven by proactive or reactive activities? If you are in a reactive mode, then it means that you are responding to the most urgent things that are right in front of you. This myopic approach is sometimes referred to as “fire control” – instead of preventing the “fires” (problems in your business), you are trying to clean up the issues that are already present. Yes, there are urgent tasks that sometimes require you to drop everything and refocus your attention. But the majority of your time should be prioritized to work on the most important tasks. When you focus your efforts on these priorities, then you move into a proactive approach that helps your small business grow. As a result, the common issues will naturally fall away.
2 . Separate the essential few from the trivial many
The next step is to consider whether you are being busy or productive. Many trivial tasks can take up your time: reorganizing the filing cabinet or researching new marketing ideas. While all of these tasks can be beneficial, they aren’t the most essential tasks that may result in immediate business growth. As you are writing down items on your to-do list, categorize everything into two columns: essential and trivial. This step helps you identify the tasks that you can’t do without, such as ordering inventory or paying the bills. These items should go at the top of your to-do list, with the other trivial tasks falling into place when you have extra time to work on them. Or, you might free up your schedule by delegating the trivial tasks so you are prioritizing the essential few.
3 . Visualize your goal
If you are going to be successful, then you need to know where you are going. This process starts by visualizing your goal. Identifying the end-point that you’d like to reach means that you can reverse-engineer the process to define the major steps it takes to get there. Then, you can systematize your activities and build your to-do list around these essential tasks. Look at your history to find the successes you’ve achieved. Then, identify the major steps that got you to that point. For example, you can review the months where you’ve had the highest sales and figure out which activities led to those results. Once you find the most important steps that lead to your defined goal, then spend more time doing those things.
4. Work smarter, not harder
You don’t need to add to your to-do list to achieve the big results that you desire. Instead, prioritizing your activities and time investment helps you work smarter – which means that you are leveraging your resources and time more effectively.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all to-do list for every small business owner but there are ways that you can build the habits of prioritizing your list, helping you get work done faster and maximize your results.
There are many other things you can do to manage your time more efficiently,
for more tips on productivity and organization, check out these other posts:
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