I moved this summer. It wasn’t just any little old move 5 hours away. It sounds simple, but in reality there were so many other factors that made it one of the biggest most insane projects we had to accomplish this year. I learned a lot of things about business in the midst of it. I set some tasks aside and knew I had to pick them up later in order to prioritize for my paying clients and my own personal sanity. Throughout that process I practiced and tested some new method of organizing business.
I’ll admit. Organization comes very naturally to me. Apparently that makes me the minority in the world of entrepreneurs, but that’s okay. In the past I’ve blogged many times on many different websites with tips to save time, organize your business, have business and life balance. It’s hard for someone who isn’t naturally inclined to pick up those tips off a blog post and actually put them into action. I get that now. It won’t stop me from trying to help though!
So here’s what I know about to-do lists in business. We have a tendency to make one list. It has everything from “post a photo on Facebook” written to “rebrand entire business and build a new website.” These are two very different types of tasks. One is a simple task, something we may do daily. The other is a huge project that could take days, weeks, or even months to accomplish depending on the involvement of other people. When you sit down and you write a task list for your business and it has these big things and small things on it, it’s impossible to prioritize or even know where to start.
Break the tasks up into manageable ones.
Okay, but how do I decide what is “manageable” Carrie?! I know, that’s what I’d ask too. Here’s how I’d recommend doing it. Make that huge list of big projects you want to accomplish. Then, add to that list things that you need to do on a monthly basis. Then go down to weekly. Then try daily. With any luck you’ll have a huge list of everything you ever do in business. Okay maybe it won’t be that involved. However, your list should encompass actual physical tasks that you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in business as well as those bigger projects that take more time.
I call those bigger projects my “goals.” These are things I know will further my business, that I know I need to get done, but they are a lot of smaller tasks built into one big project. In this next step go back through that big huge list and write down next to each item, “goal, weekly, monthly or daily.”
Then it’s time to re-categorize. Get 4 separate papers (or more depending on how you labeled your tasks) and write down a list of daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks and your goals (big projects). When I’m starting to feel super overwhelmed with all the things I should be doing in business this is how I break down my workflow. I figure out which days of the week I can assign my daily tasks, which weeks of the month I can assign my weekly tasks, which months I can assign my monthly ones, and so on and so forth until my tasks are spread out into a picture that looks like something a human being who wants to have a life could actually accomplish.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t do everything all at once. Your daily tasks are the things that are probably most urgent and simple to accomplish. These are things like answering emails or posting on social media. Your weekly things might be doing your accounting and recording all your income and expenses for the week. Or if your business isn’t that busy maybe you do that on a monthly basis. Maybe you only do it yearly and you really should be doing it more often. Your monthly tasks might be things like catching up on some paper filing, cleaning your business supplies, or ordering refills on copier ink.
Don’t worry about writing every task down for the entire year. Take it week-by-week. This is my typical approach. Writing tasks down for the following week, with a list of monthly “goals” that are smaller tasks within my big projects I’d like to get done. If you’re one of those people who sits down to get work done and then can’t, this will help you figure out where to start and break those big unmanageable things you know you want to accomplish into smaller bite-size pieces.
Keep your daily lists small.
You don’t need a huge list every day of items to accomplish in business and life. Keep your daily lists down to maybe 5 things, maybe less, or maybe a couple more depending on how big the tasks are. There’s only so much you can do in a day and if you limit your to-dos then you have more time to enjoy your life. Life cannot be all work all the time. You’ll never be successful at getting things done if you don’t take some me time and do things that are not work!
I’ve got some big things releasing before the end of 2016 so keep an eye out for ebooks, freebies, and brand new educational videos and classes. If you’re interested in more awesome stuff like this follow Rock Your Weird on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get updates. You can also subscribe below to my weekly ‘behind the business’ newsletter full of insight on how running a business actually goes down behind the scenes. You get to be a fly on my wall and learn from my successes and failures with me! We have a Facebook community where you can join and get some business help from other entrepreneurs like yourself. Thanks for reading!
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