The Power of the To-Do List

The Power of the To-Do List

You can probably relate to the following scenario. You get a phone call or an email, or bump into somebody at your office, and the brief conversation you have means there's a task you need to complete. It could be as simple as sending someone's contact info or a specific file to a colleague. Or it could be something more complicated, like the deadline for a report you're working on has been pushed up a day.
Regardless, there is something
important you need to do.

As a business owner, information comes at you from every direction throughout the day. If you don't capture the tasks you need to do in a list, your only alternative is to remember it in your mind. And while you may have a great memory, keeping track of that in your head is still using up space and taking mental energy. That's why many successful people are diligent about keeping lists.

Once you capture that information in a list, it frees that part of your brain up to focus on other things. By making it a habit that you stick to every day, you subconsciously start to have confidence in your discipline, which means you can forget about the task until it's time for it to be done. So a good rule of thumb is, unless the task takes less than 2 minutes, don't try to do it right away. Instead, enter it as an item in your list.

If you're comfortable keeping your lists on your computer, here's a suggestion… create a spreadsheet with columns for priority, date added, the task to be done, and the deadline. When you need to add a new item, enter it at the bottom no matter what the priority is. Later when you have a few minutes, you can set the priority by adjusting the number in the priority column.

This also allows you to change priority with ease. Referring to the sample list shown here, let’s say you got a call that the project in the last item has been made a higher priority and you want to move it up to the third spot. All you need to do is change the 7 to a 2.5 and then reorder the list. It will automatically move up to the third position.

It may take a week or two to get used to this new process, but it will be worth the effort. You’ll be better able to focus on the important things you have on your plate and it will save you time as well!


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