What does your To Do list look like?  Does it fit on one page?  Does it span a few pages covered in scribbled notes and updates?  How many things ever actually get crossed out?

For many people their To Do list has become a form of torture.  Either too unruly to ever make sense of or too unwieldy to complete in a day – or even a week.  When you run your own business you’re always focusing on the next thing you should do to try and grow, the next place you should be to win new business.  And that To Do list continues to grow with no end in sight – sadly you usually end up being less productive as a result.

So how do you ever complete it?  Here’s my top 3 tips for getting things done and throwing that list in the bin.

1. How many points on your list are Tasks and how many are Objectives?

It’s not unusual to see To Do lists which include the relatively small and mundane (e.g. log July expense receipts) next to the wide-reaching strategic stuff (e.g. set up social media presence).  You feel you need to do both to keep your business running but one is a task and one is a much larger piece of work.  It’s a good idea to go through your list and divide everything up into Tasks and Objectives as it will help you better understand what to do next.

2. How can you get the Tasks done quickly?

With each of the tasks you’ve identified, now think about what the timescales are for these.  If you’re aiming to have your July receipts logged by the end of the month then use your calendar and schedule in an hour to get this done.  If you want to get a newsletter out to your customers by the 15th of the month then schedule time to write and send it on the 13th or 14th.  By moving these tasks into your calendar you’re making sure you allow time to actually get them done and you’re also moving them away from the never-ending To Do list which will allow you to focus on the bigger, strategic tasks that will help grow your business.

If you’re too busy to be able to schedule the time for tasks it’s a good idea to see what you can ask someone else to help you with.  Virtual Assistants can provide valuable business and operational support and can free you up to concentrate on what’s important.

3. What are your priority Objectives?

Once you’ve moved all the Tasks away into your calendar or have enlisted extra support to get these done, it’s time to look at the remaining objectives and prioritise them based on what’s most important to your business.  Again, be ruthless – if there are things on the list that don’t necessarily suit your skillset and you know you could get some help with which means they’d be actioned quickly and more effectively then look for outside support.

Identify your top 3 most important objectives based on: how will it benefit my business, what are the consequences if I don’t do this, and will it take me away from my main goal of running a successful business.  Have you been meaning to set up a blog but have never gotten around to it?  Set an objective to create and share a great blog post today.  Have you reached out to any potential clients this week to see if they’d like to chat?  Make it an objective to contact 10 prospects this week.

Make your top 3 objectives your ONLY objectives for the day/week and focus on them 100%.