Toss the To Do List

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That's right. Toss it. Or at least, revamp how you use it.  What you need is to focus on what's in front of you because work expands so as to fill the time we set aside to do it. The solution seems impossible at first: set shorter time periods, and boom!  See your productivity soar. It's called the Parkinson's Laws. It's how Sweden doesn't sacrifice productivity when they instituted a shorter 6 hour work day.

On Mondays, I typically start my day with a planned tasks against my appointment calendar.  I'm a blend of old school, needing the tactile page, and utterly reliant on new tech to act as that personal assistant to nudge me on to the next agenda item. There are, without exageration, MILLIONS of todo apps.  Find one that works for you, preferably integrates with your staff, with any, clients, calendar, and website. I'm a fan of Google Keep, others rely on Slack, Remember the Milk, Evernote, Apple Reminders. Find the one that works for you and let it work for you. Don't turn it the other way around and spend all your time updating it and not the tasks it's supposed to help you focus.

I don't start each day with a complete strategy session; culling through everything I've yet to accomplish is daunting. It's counterproductive because of all the distractions of just one more thing. 

Avoid time holes.

As a serial entrepreneur, there's just too many moving pieces. I leave strategy for a monthly and quarterly meeting I schedule with myself. During that meeting, I might bring in a member of my team of professionals, book keeper, accountant, marketing guru, sales, and yes, my lawyer.  Just as doctors aren't to self medicate, lawyers need their own legal support. These meet ups can be 30 minutes, if everything has been smooth sailing, or they can take 2 hours if adjustments are needed. Plan accordingly.

Mondays, I take about 10-20 minutes, and work out my week, based on those strategy sessions. There, I schedule appointments in the calendar to address items that but for that appointment, wouldn't get done. This blog entry is a great example! 

So, as much as I sit with a legal pad and strategize my thoughts over a weekend, today, it's client work, working on my CRM to improve efficiency, and this blog.  

Then I have a DON'T DO THIS list. 

• Don't micromanage and fail to share the load with those on your team. Even if you are wearing all the hats, delegate when and how you use your time to do the bookkeeping so it doesn't distract from your profit center.
• Don't focus on getting it "right" - instead get it finished.
• Don't do personal life in the work day, and vice versa. 

Life happens and the only guarantee I have to offer is that you have to be adaptable when things don't go according to plan. Be flexible with your time and focus just on what's in front of you.  The list you make on Mondays, and monthly or quarterly will only then take care of themselves.