Since time is money, the highest priority is getting things done on schedule, if not sooner. Nothing can fall through the cracks.
If you are going to hit the ground running every day, and get everything knocked out on time, you need to know how to work from the most powerfully effective to-do list every single day. Here are a few tips on how to create it and how to use it for maximum productivity.
Keep it Short
Your to-do list should only have on it the things that need to be done that very day, and need to be done by you. The list of effective to-do list tips from Fast Company, notes that, “Too often, we stuff our lists with items that we don’t need to do or which don’t need to be done today.”
Delegate whatever you can, and put off until tomorrow…or whenever…anything that isn’t critical for today. The consensus seems to be that your to-do list should have no more than 3 items on it, but it can even be just one complex task that needs to be broken into steps. Just start with the first one and keep on going until the task is completed.
Get Right to It
It should go without saying that your list is prioritized, the most important task at the very top. But you also need to take care of it as soon as you get to work. According to the to-do list tips from Forbes, you should, “Tackle the first item on your list first thing in the morning when you are fresh.”
Not only will that keep your business moving right along, but it will give you momentum to keep going, tackling the rest of your list and maybe even getting a head start on tomorrow’s.
Write Your To-Do List the Day Before
The last thing you should do every day at work is to create your to-do list for the next day. There should rarely be tasks left over from today’s list, because you should only be listing what must be done that day and then doing it. So consider carefully what your startup most needs next, and put that on the next day’s list.
There are actually two important reasons for this. One is that it allows you to dive immediately into important work, bringing momentum to the very beginning of your workday. But the second is equally, if not more, important. You will work more effectively when you’re well-rested, and a well-crafted task list will keep those items from circling your brain at night, causing insomnia.
Let Technology Help
There are some really great apps to help you get the most done with the least wasted time. Here are a few of the most popular.
- Basecamp — I have been a devoted Basecamp user for years, and their recent upgrades for Basecamp 3 have made it even better. You can set to-do lists for yourself, your team members and even your clients. There are also a ton of other collaboration features beyond mere to-do lists.
- Wunderlist – See your few crucial tasks at a glance, then select them one at a time to see the sub-tasks.
- To-Doist – Having trouble getting started? To-Doist turns productivity into a game. Score points while meeting goals.
- Google Keep — This is a very simple, no-frills note-taking tool that also provides the ability to make check-mark to-do lists.
For entrepreneurs, being more productive means stripping everything down to its most basic essentials. Do the absolute most important things first, then take care of everything else later or let someone else do it. Now set your to-do list to turbo power and go!