We've written lots about the importance of good business planning, time management, and creating to-do lists for your startup or your self employment business venture.
However, it’s one thing creating to-do lists, planning or using to-do apps, but it’s another thing entirely keeping on top of your to-do list - especially when it’s changing every single day and at any one point in the day. No standard 9-5’s in our world! With this in mind here are a few tips on how you can keep on top of your to-do list...
Use Google Drive
It’s not really all that different from using the good ol' school notepad and paper, but Google Drive allows you to do a few things differently, and some would say a little better. Firstly you can create and update your documents whenever you want and wherever you are - as long as you’ve got internet access - be that on a PC, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone with a Google Drive app. The major advantage though is the ability for you to share this document with others, and for them to be able to view and edit the document wherever they are too. Thus your to-do list becomes a to-do list that everyone can use and edit and do so instantly at that.
Use a dictaphone
Whether you’re out walking the dog, sitting in front of the TV, having a cup a tea and you remember that important thing you need to do, or you have that eureka moment and need to take note, a dictaphone can be a real help. A dictaphone can be a great way to immediately record that extra thing to add to your to-do list or even record that eureka moment. Once you’ve recorded, you can of course get on with whatever else you’re doing - work related or not.
Keep it simple
If your to-do list is several pages long, you’re either in desperate need of some additional support, or you’re probably just cluttering it up with perhaps everyday tasks that could simply be recorded elsewhere. If this rings true for you, our suggestions on planning your working week might be worth a read.
Rank your to-do list in order of priority. Mark your tasks as urgent and essential, those needing to be done and those which ideally need to be done, but which aren’t necessarily essential. This will really help when time is an issue and you need to prioritise your workload.
Don't ignore the tough things
The easy thing to do with a to-do list is to ignore all the boring or tough or long-winded things. I’ve even been known to add things I've already done to my to-do list, just so I can cross them off - a sense of immediate satisfaction perhaps! However, the tough things still remain. A good tip is to work through the tough things first - get them out of the way and you really will be going some way towards tackling your to-do list.
Have regular meetings
One of the best ways to keep on top of your to-do list (and this is the same if you work for yourself or if there's a number of people in your team) is to make the first task of your day a morning meeting with yourself or your team. It’s a good way to both review progress of what you've done or achieved and also to set realistic targets for the day or week ahead. Of course during this meeting you can review your to-do list and make it as workable as possible.
It can also be worthwhile to have a weekly strategy meeting which can really help you look a little more strategically at things than a to-do list does and focus more on the long term - your targets, and your aims as a business. Those long term plans can often remain fixed at the bottom of your to-do list, so this can be a good way of making sure that you look passed the day-to-day realities of your working week.
Of course just like a to-do list, this tips list isn't definitive - some of the points therein may or may not work for you. However, managing your to-do list can be a pretty important skill to learn so as our friends over at Entrepreneurial Spark would suggest #GoDo.