How to create a To Do List?
When you are working on your own, you can get easily sidetracked. I make for myself each day a printable To Do List, and this list I print out and cross off all the task I have done.
I know there is management software available like Rescue Time, Time Action Machine and Trello. I use it but I still keep my printable To Do List beside me. It also helps me to go back when I outsource jobs to see how long it takes for certain jobs to do. It takes the guessing out.
Sometimes a to-do list gets too long, or you get so far behind that you are giving up on your to-do list or you get stressed out.
It is not difficult to get a to-do list under control. It is easy when you look at some management strategies and keep up with a few rules. Like the 80/20 Rule.
Understanding the difference between a To-Do-List and a Hot List.
A to-do-list is not a planning pad or a hot list, idea starter list or a wishlist. It is a daily task list for an Entrepreneur to do. What it means is the job-task you need to accomplish in 24 hours.
If you use a to-do list for the whole week just summarize that is a planning pad.
A hot list is a list that keeps your hottest ideas or inventions you want to get going.
Any list should have detailed timelines for all of your tasks and write the priorities besides them.
Use a Spreadsheet
- Writing down each task, you want to complete on individual columns. Arrange them in different columns. Maybe three or four but not more than five. Don’t do too many columns but you can do as many rows you want. Just make sure you can fit them on an A4 page.
- A. Want to do ( completed 5 days)
- B. Need to do (completed 72 hours)
- C. Must do ( completed 24 hours)
- D. Weekly tasks ( each week like writing invoices or updating a system)
Getting started with your To Do List Must Do.
The Must-do items should not be more than 5 tasks. Depending on the time otherwise, you will move them to the next day, and that will for sure cause a backlog later on.
If you have 5 tasks, prioritise them in numbers on how much value they create for your business.
Decide how many hours you work in one day on your business and divide it into the task list.
The rule is 80/20 means the task that need less input but creates the most significant value for your company or business. So ask yourself this question: What are the highest producing income tasks I have to achieve today?
The second question is: What is the impact tasks I have to do today.
I know it can be a taff decision but to be productive, you need to learn to make decisions.
Read my blog on 80/20 rule.
A Few Interesting Facts.
Did you know that 80 % of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers?
Another facts is that a lot of people put 80% work in and only have a 20 % output. Instead of 20% input and 80 % output. Which one are you?
Outsource the Task you do not like to do. Hey, that is perfectly ok we don’t need to master every skill.
If you have items that you can not do that day, make sure those are items that can also be outsourced. ( Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer,
Sometimes we should not put tasks on our list we do not like to do, as if we do put them on our to-do-list we will start to procrastinate. Outsource them if you can that saves you time and getting things done.
The List called Need To Do
The Need To Do List are things that you have to
The same goes for that column prioritise the task according to how important those jobs are, and prioritize them on how much they contribute to make you money.
The List called Want to do.
Want to do, are tasks which have a longer time fulfilment schedule. Jobs they might need more input or research and require other tasks to combine. Some time management systems suggest to toss out jobs like this and use a someday list.
I strongly disagree with that, a someday list will quickly be cluttered, and the list can become endless as all tasks you don’t like or think can wait you will put on there. It is challenging, but don’t create a backdoor for yourself to procrastinate.
If you want to get ahead of your workload, I suggest again if there are tasks you absolutely don’t like or hate to do, outsource them before you drag them from week to week in your to-do list.
Weekly Tasks ( repeated tasks)
Weekly Jobs are those tasks that repeat themselves each week. Make it a habit of choosing one day a week to do them. You will see after doing that for a couple of months it feels great and it will be much easier to fulfil your to-do list.
I got the feeling… ( famous song)
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Full credit is given to the artist Justin Timberlake. We do not own anything. Justin Timberlake – CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! (From DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls”) (Official Video)
It is a great reward and feeling when you sit down in the evening and can cross out all the tasks you have done on your To Do List. The feeling is fantastic.
Imagine that feeling right now, the excitement of being productive and it feels so good. Can you feel the satisfaction and the excitement that you did it? It gives you a boost of energy.
Don’t get sidetracked.
If you want to include tasks that are in a backlog, make sure they are not taking priority for you, and they create an excellent opportunity for distraction for the must-do items.
Just an example, say you are surfing the net for new collectable books, but you don’t really need to do that especially when you have told a presentation to finish for your customer in a couple of hours.
Our Brain loves to procrastinate as our brain has to keep us happy.
To set your goals and your mind in a direction that leads to success, please download this free S.M.A.R.T Goal Workbook.
How many items should I put on my list?
It depends on the task and on how many hours do you need to do that job.
Also, it depends on the criteria is it a single step process or does it need a multiple steps process to fulfil the job.
With complicated tasks, you might only put 2 job tasks on the list, and otherwise 3 to 5 items.
Don’t forget to time yourself and write the time behind each task when you perform the work. That will help you in the future to take out the guessing.
If you use your computer and a spreadsheet as suggested for your To-do -list, you can colour the different columns and add time, and some other notes to it.
The advantage of using colour is that you can quickly see how many highlighted items you have to do, and how many are still left to do. Don’t think I am old fashion I am not. I still use Time Action Machine as software because it is so simple to use, together with my printable list.
I suggest to print it out and put this list in front of you. Make a check mark when it is done, keep the crossing out as a ritual in the end when you are finished. It is an inspiring feeling, and you want to ride this wave of motivation.
Create the next day list already in the evening, before you shut down your computer. Why as this gives you time to process it in your sleep and in the morning you know you have a schedule and know what you have to do.
Having a schedule will help you to eliminate a part of procrastination.
So, what do you say, want to start your To Do List today?
It is crucial that you create a list what is done in 24 hours and only if really not possible transfer an item not done on the top list for the next morning.
Make it a habit to finish every day your job tasks, and note down some important things for you to remember.
One more advise I like to give you, find out your biorhythm clock curve.
Check in which hours you are the most productive and which hours of the day you are less productive. For the most productive hours do a task that earns you the most money, and in the not so productive hours do things that are easy and can be done with less brainpower.
Here is an article about this you need to scroll down to the section Peaks and Throughs.
I use my non-productive hours to do tasks like social media, research and training.
I hope I gave you some ideas on how you can organise your to-do -list and please do a printable do list it is so much easier to see it in front of you instead of clicking around on the computer, as this causes distractions and an opportunity to have a sneak peek at something else.
What is your secret to the a great to do list? Do you have one? Share with us what are your Tips and Tricks.
All yours Sylvia