To-do list or not-to-do list..that is the question.
If you go and Google this topic, there are literally millions and millions of tips, tricks, hacks and links to help you get started.
There are many who vote for the to-do list and then there are just as many who prefer to wing it, memo it, tab it, Trello it and to NOT have a list at all.
Not everyone runs on lists, but if you’re struggling to reach a goal, or find yourself sidetracked more than you would like, a to-do list in the style that works for you can help.
I have had so many people ask me, “Bron, you look like you are so organised and focused. How do you do it? How do you run your own business and actually get things done?”
That’s an interesting question!
Here’s it is – the secret to my success of staying focused and staying organised.
Are you ready?
Prioritising and focusing on the task with the highest return. That’s it! Deciding what to work on now (what task has the highest return value) and what to leave for later (what task has the lowest return value).
When building a business – you are responsible for everything: marketing, sales, deliverables – all of it. You are focused on the big picture and it can be overwhelming. This overwhelming feeling can ultimately lead to the state of doing absolutely nothing.
I think lists certainly help get us to reach our goals and break the times of overwhelm, especially when they are reverse engineered, let me explain.
REVERSE ENGINEER GOALS
Think of a major event, workshop or deadline you want to make.
Let’s say its an online workshop in 6 weeks time.
There are loads of things you need to get done to run this successful online workshop, things like…
- Course outline
- Creating the online event on Zoom
- Social media calendar and planner
- Landing pages
- Sales funnel
- e-Commerce to take payments
- People to collaborate with
- Event creation on social media and more…
Not to mention Facebook ads, LinkedIn campaigns, newsletters, emails and pre-work.
For me, I believe the best way to pull this off is to start with the end first.
The end in this scenario is running the online workshop…yes, where the workshop is complete, attendees are on Zoom with you and it’s all action stations.
Start with the end in mind and work back week by week, it can then be broken down in days.
The good old 30-60-90 day plan works a treat.
Where so many people get caught out is not only creating the plan but sticking to it as well….consistently sticking to the small steps you have set, and ticking them off one by one.
WHERE TO START
CHOOSE YOUR MEDIUM
Research tells us that writing things down tells our brains it’s important. But if writing is not your thing, there are loads of productivity tools and personal apps not to mention to-do list style apps to choose from.
Because technology changes so frequently, check out the links here and do a quick search yourself, there are some brilliant apps out there.
For those who prefer to write (like me) get a notebook in your favourite colour, get your pens out and get ready to start.
GET IT DOWN IN 10 MINUTES OR LESS
One of my favourite tools to use when I have too much going on, where my plate is full and I need to do some clearing is to do what I call the ’10-Minute Reset’.
Get your favourite pen and notebook out, make yourself something hot or cold to drink.
Turn your phone on to aeroplane mode…it’s not much good for anything else at the moment.
Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Start writing anything and everything that is in your head, from taking the washing off the line, to sorting the pantry, to writing that new course and updating a page on your website.
It’s literally a ‘free for all’ 10 minutes in time to clear all the thoughts out of your brain and on to paper.
Take three highlighters or textas, you choose.
Colour number one – highlight all the things that can be done in 2-3 minutes or less. It could be sending emails to watering the plants at the front door.
Colour number two – highlight all the high priority, high return items, the ones that generate money and grow your business.
Here are a few examples:
If you have a large client base and are making your cash flow goals, focus on adding value to your current paying clients and keeping them interested, along with a rock-solid community on social media instead of focusing on marketing and social media lead generation.
Having cash flow problems? Direct your primary focus on lead generations and turning potential customers into paying clients.
These activities are what experts call, High-Value Activities.
These are the activities that will either directly generate revenue or indirectly provide an opportunity to generate revenue.
Again, the trick is knowing what the problem is and putting your time, energy, and imagination there rather than focusing on making a check in the box or crossing off a less important task on that ever-growing ‘to-do’ list.
Colour number three – highlight all the things that can be done at a later date.
You now have three lists, colour coded to boot.
Schedule a time each day to knock over the small things (colour one), get them out of the way.
Colour two are the important ones, there really should only be 3-5 of these each week, as usually these can be broken down into smaller steps.
Colour three – put these in the car park, these are the things that can wait until next time.
Get into the habit of doing these every week, fortnight or month, whatever works for you.
STILL TOO MANY ITEMS ON THE LIST?
Get out the your three lists, well, really just colour one and colour two.
Take a look at your activities and grade them as A, B, or C.
“A” is the work that you have to get done today or your business would cease to exist.
“B” is work that would be beneficial today but doing it tomorrow won’t be the end of the world; however, continuously putting it off would cause more harm than good.
Lastly, “C” the work that you would like to get done but can wait until you have free time.
If you find that you are grading everything as an “A”, try this:
Imagine all of your activities as an investment.
The money you are using to invest is the amount of time, energy, and overall attention/focus that you are giving to a project.
You only have so much “money” to invest so you must use it wisely.
Which “stock” would you want to invest in?
The one that would yield the highest return, right?
It’s so easy to get lost in the detail…yes the detail is important but only if it is working towards a strategic outcome, one that will grow your business.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Goals like ‘create online course’ are vague, which means there is little attachment to the outcome, because it doesn’t mean much…not to mention be totally intimidating.
Break it down, keep it simple.
Create an online course can be broken into dozens of smaller, achievable and doable steps.
Think reverse engineer here again.
One small step, and then another.
By the time to goal comes around, there will only be a few small steps and BOOM course complete.
We are all busy, the world is busy, there is being busy and there is being productive.
Find your medium, find the way your brain works on completing tasks, go with your strengths, and forget what doesn’t fit.
If a list is not your thing, fina another way to stay focused on your goals both big and small, no doubt there will be an app for that.
Have a great week,
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