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7 Tips for the Making the Best of The Constant To Do List

I was talking with a self-employed friend on the weekend about what’s happening in the business and found that I could so easily be rattling on about a dozen different things and the background chatter in my mind was about all the things I need to do – all the To Do List things.

To get my thoughts straight I mentioned that constant To Do list and there was instant understanding. Because no matter how much you get done you always have a heap more to do. The trick, I’m learning, is to accept that this is just part of life and the key is to prioritise, get help when you need it and let go of worry and stress about the constant list.

This is much easier written than done!

The alternative is going to work for someone else when the big picture and making it all work is the owner’s job and your job is just defined by a role and responsibility contract. I know I cared a great deal about my work when I was employed by others but it was nothing like having your own business (but my discipline learnt from my contracting days is making a huge difference for the success of my business today).

So how do you make that constant To Do list managable and livable – easier to live with? Here are 7 Tips for Making the Most of the Constant To Do List:

1. Planning helps a great deal – figure out your business strategy because with the constant changing economic environment your plans from last year have been put on their head – there are new opportunities and harsher risks. But having a big picture strategy idea about what you want to achieve will help you focus and prioritise.

2. Take your strategy ideas into a priority list – what’s most important – usually backed by the question ‘where’s the money?’. This list will keep you focused so you know what needs doing and what can be delegated to someone else and what can hold for now (and how long now is).

3. Keep your priority list handy in a place you’re going to see it and keep working with it. Be ready to update the priority list so it keeps working for you.

4. Make notes in your work diary as reminders about the priorities and the things you need to do to make it happen. This is important for both the daily life things, the business maintenance as well as business development actions so you keep a better life balance with your To Do list. If you have rent due monthly then have a diary reminder about putting the money aside for it 10 – 14 days beforehand, have a note 4 and 2 weeks out for car registration and insurance, write in the due dates for the email newsletters for the coming year – you get the idea. Make reminders work for you. I write mine in my work diary and am increasingly using the calendar in my mobile for reminders when I’m out and about.

5. Know where the money is – where it goes out and when it comes in. This will help you keep track of the vital cashflow as well as being ready to pay valued suppliers, rents and mortgages, utilities like ISP’s and power as well as being able to reinvest back into the business to grow. This is really important as it’s getting much harder to get business finance so it needs to be done more internally than before. Financial stress is a really horrible experience and makes it much harder to run a good business so avoid it by being organised and ready to deal with unexpected changes as best as possible.

6. Be ready to change the To Do list so you can take advantage of new opportunities and to stop doing plans or initiatives that aren’t working for you and the business. One of the biggest strengths for small business is the ability to be flexible and to take advantage of changed circumstances.

7.Learn to accept that there will always be a To Do list. The problems come when there isn’t a To Do List! 

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All the best,


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