Would you like a to-do list and weekly schedule that leads to focused action and not make you feel paralyzed?
Before 2014 I used to have one huge big-ass To Do list and it was a jumbled mess: both on paper and in my head. Whenever I thought of it a headache would start to form. Not fun! I needed to focus on a simple 5 step system to reduce To Do List overwhelm.
This system helps you to have clarity and focus at specific times of the day that work best for you. It includes splitting the to do list into categories and your calendar into blocks of time that work for you.
Even if you are someone that likes flexibility and freedom, a plan needs to be in place so you can experience that in your life. The key is to keep it simple.
Here are 5 steps to follow to get a simple system in place.
Step 1: To-Do List Brain Dump
Write down your entire to-do list. Open evernote, google docs or go old school with pen and paper. Set a timer on your smart phone for 10 minute and write down all you need to do in your business and life.
TIP: Set the timer to 10 minutes only. That is enough time to capture the most important items. Giving yourself a longer time leads to way too much being added.
Step 2: To-Do List Streamlining
Go back through your to-do list and look at what similarity they have. When I did this I noticed I had similar items that included Client work, Marketing, Promotion, Business administration, Personal finances, Content Creation and Training.
Step 3: Categorization
Put your list into categories that work for you. I choose to divide them up into 4 key categories:
1. Outreach. Time spent meeting new clients, working with my current clients, or communicating in Facebook Groups
2. Administration. What needs to be done for my business to keep running (e.g. weekly podcast show, social media posts, newsletter, invoicing etc.)?
3. Content. Time spent creating new content (e.g. programs, courses, sales pages etc.)
4. Personal. Items to keep my life outside of work functioning (hiring a cleaner, birthday gifts, closing a bank account etc.)
Step 4: Prioritize the Categories
Each week, put the categories into your calendar. Before you do that look at which category needs more focus for that week. It could be content or personal. At the end or start of each month administration might need more focus and time in your calendar
TIP: Put the category that needs the most focus in a time slot when you are less likely to be disrupted!
Step 5: Schedule the Categories
Now it is simple as slotting those categories into the blocks of time you have available in your calendar for your business and life.
TIP: Make a block of time no more than 2 hours. That is the maximum amount of time you should work without a break. I like to work 50 minutes on and take a 10 minute break. Figure out what works for you.
From here on it is as simple as rinse and repeat! When the week starts and the time slot tells you the category focus for the next two hours is outreach you open up that to-do list. Work on those priorities only and watch as you stay focused on specific tasks. Once the timeslot is over you close that to-do list and, after a break (!), move onto the next time slot.
Remember the simple key to reducing to-do list overwhelm is as easy as categorization and assigning blocks of time in your calendar!
Liz is an internationally-based accountability coach, productivity strategist, writer, and host of the Live Your Life Now™ and Get the Right “Bleep” Done podcast. She’s dedicated her work to help entrepreneurs find more freedom, flexibility and control in their busy lives and business. How? By giving them the inspiration and tools to take action, kick busy work to the curb and help them get the RIGHT stuff done – instead of waiting for a magical ‘someday’. Connect with Liz on Facebook, Twitter or on her blog.