If you’re anything like me, you run like crazy all day long and when you get home, you wonder what it was you actually did. It’s not uncommon at all for owners, leaders and team members to feel this way. Unfortunately, it carries into the next day. When we get to work we’re not really sure what it is we’re supposed to do. We know it’s a lot, but where do we start?
That’s why I really push for people to make a simple to-do list. It doesn’t have to be difficult at all. It just needs to exist. Studies have shown that a to-do list can gain you up to two hours of productivity each day. How? Well, what usually happens is we get to work, start on the first thing we can think of, then we realize we need to do something else. Oh! Don’t forget that thing that was supposed to be done last week. Wait… something new just landed on my desk. It’s a vicious cycle. That’s where we end up losing up to two hours a day.
Instead, if you spend 15 minutes prioritizing what you need to do, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to follow that list. Now, most people will make their list in the morning, and that’s great. But I’m going to tell you to do it at the end of your day for the following day. Why? Two reasons:
- It’s fresh in your mind. When you get to the end of your day you know all of the stuff you’ve been working on. Dump it all out right then, along with any other items that need to be added to it. Now you won’t have to wonder what tasks need to be tackled tomorrow.
- This will also get all of the junk stirring around in your head out. That way you don’t spend the rest of your evening thinking about what you need to do tomorrow. I have a tendency to send myself emails at night if I didn’t take the time to write stuff down before I left the office. When you know everything’s already on your list, you can spend focused time with your family.
List your tasks using the ABC method. The most important things get listed under A. Anything that can bring money in the door should be in this category. Your most crucial task should be listed as A1. Things that need to be done soon fall under B. Everything else goes under C. If you can’t ultimately get to the Cs, you need to either delegate them or store them in an idea file. That way they don’t stay in your subconscious as something that needs to get done.
There ya go. Simple and elegant. Ok, maybe just simple.