Stop Procrastinating! Maximize Your To-Do List

Do you often find yourself uttering one of these self-sabotaging phrases, “I’ll just do it tomorrow;” “I should’ve done that already, and now I don’t feel like it;” or “I just don’t have the time.”  If you answered yes to one of these, then you’re exhibiting the classic behavior of a procrastinator.  This is one of the most dangerous behaviors in business because it signals to the client that if you’re willing to put off your own important work, their work will likely not be done in a timely manner either.  When entrepreneurs procrastinate, it leads to a decrease in profits and a feeling that we may never get our mountain of tasks completed. One of the things some people procrastinate on is earning a degree. A great place to look is Online PhD because you can learn how you can earn a degree in your home, at your fingertips – it is so simple, there’s no need to procrastinate.

If you struggle to complete the much needed tasks to grow your business, I offer you a solution: create a to-do list!  I know this sounds like an easy solution, and you probably have lists coming out of your ears.  However, my solution is not just to create any list but to create one with actionable tasks that actually help your business.  Maximizing this to-do list takes three steps.

1. Create the your “Daily 3.” This is a short list of the top three most important things you need to do for your business that day.  The amount of time it takes to complete each of the “daily three” will vary depending on whether you are working your business part-time or full-time.  For these items, there is no, “I’ll do that tomorrow.”  These are the things that MUST get done.  In addition to writing the list, attach realistic time frames to each task, and delete what you can’t feasibly accomplish.  Overestimate the time it’ll take you to finish a task if it’s something new.  If you are working your business full-time, then you may be able to write a “Daily 5,” but do not schedule more tasks than that (yes, I’m talking to you over-achieving small business owners :-)!  Scheduling too many tasks will increase the possibility of discouragement.  I’d rather you write a Daily 3 and accomplish every task than write a Daily 10 and beat yourself up for only finishing 6 things on the list.

2. Assess your list.  Before committing to this Daily 3, ask the following questions about each task:

  • Will this task make me money directly or indirectly? Direct money making opportunities include coaching a client or working on a project.  Indirect tasks could involve painting a new note card design that you’ll put up for sale in the future or taking a class so that you can add a new service to your business.
  • Does this task build awareness for my brand? This includes social media activities, networking events or working on web site enhancements.
  • Of all the things I could be doing today, is this one of the most important? Asking yourself this question helps weed out those tasks that are unimportant but easy to do.  For example, if you have the choice between following up with a new client and cleaning out your email inbox, it may be tempting to say things like, “My inbox is huge, and I don’t feel like talking on the phone/emailing anyone today.”  However, potential money is usually much more important than a clean inbox.

If you do not answer “Yes” to at least 2 of these 3 questions, delete that task from the list.  It will not help you grow your business.  When making your list, add things that are important but not urgent tasks.  Maybe you have a project due in July but can work on some of the pieces in May.  This will keep you working ahead of schedule.  Then you won’t be scrambling to get things done at the last minute if something unexpected comes up.

3. Take action! Writing a list means nothing if you don’t act on it.  Post the list up in your office, or carry it around with you in a notebook that you’ll be sure to check.  Make sure to cross out or note every task you accomplish.  If you’re tech savvy, save the list to your Blackberry or iPhone, and set an alarm so that you check the list at least twice that day.

CONFIDENCE CHALLENGE: Starting on Monday, create one Daily 3 for the next five days.  On Saturday, take a step back to review your list.  Then celebrate the 15 tasks you’ve been able to accomplish during the work week!  See how much you can get done when you stop procrastinating?  It’s a great feeling!

Have you maximized your to-do list?  I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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2 comments

  1. Creating the to-do list is not my issue. I have 2 issues. First, putting off the little things that can help me move toward a goal which would ultimately create more work (which is probably why I put them off). Second, transferring things on the list for up to two weeks at a time. Insane! But, they eventually get done but just not during the first week on the list.

    I’m working on improving this insanity.

     

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