How can you make the most of your to-do list?
To-do lists are amazing tools to help you remember what you wanted to get done. They can serve as a place to refer back to as you move through your day forgetting where you wanted your focus.
They also can be a way we women torture ourselves, leaving us feeling as if we’ve accomplished nothing at the end of the day.
So how do you make the most of your to-do list? How do you stop it from becoming a source of stress and instead have it serve you as a busy mom running a business?
Start by setting 3 daily priorities
The first step is to stop the endless list of tasks that will never get accomplished.
I know that I can easily write down 25 things that I’d love to get done in a day. However, what are the chances I actually complete all 25 things? If I complete 10, that’s 15 I didn’t do, meaning I end my day feeling defeated.
Instead, set just 3 priorities for the day. Have them at the top of your to do list, highlight them, or separate them out so that you know this is where you focus. (I use the vertical priorities design of the Plum Paper planner, which has a space for those 3 to do list items to stand out)
These are not just any 3 tasks either. These are 3 things that help you towards your goals for the week, whether that’s making that first step towards writing a blog post or starting to clean out that closet that’s been on your list.
Yes, your to do list may include more than 3 things. Because if I don’t write it down, I may not remember that I also needed to pick up that prescription, grab dog food, or design that client album.
Any task that isn’t one of those top 3 are just extra, bonus. If you complete them, wonderful! If not, it’s okay they can wait until tomorrow. Yet you can know that by accomplishing those 3 priority tasks you have made progress towards your goals for the week/month/year. You’ve accomplished something that helps you move that needle in your business, or helps you check off one of those projects around the house.
Make the Most of Your To-Do List by Having a “Tackle the Tasks” Day.
I know what you’re going to say next. Okay, but what about those things that just keep getting pushed off? What about those things that I do, eventually, need to do, but just don’t make top priority?
Set a “tackle the tasks” day. This could even be a tackle the tasks morning, half day, weekend, depending on the size of your to do list.
But this is the time to get all of those smaller things done, help you catch up on the little things (that do still matter).
Do this once a month or every few weeks, or whenever you see those “extra” to-dos piling up. Spending just one day catching up will help you feel back on top things and ready to start tackling those 3 priorities again.
Another way to make the most of your to-do list is to enlist help.
You can’t do it all alone. As you’re working to juggle kids, family life, the home, a business, and your own needs, it is a lot. Do not expect to do everything yourself.
Ask for help.
Let me repeat that. Ask for help.
Can you outsource certain business tasks? What about certain tasks around the home?
Can grandparents help with the kids once a week for a few hours for you to work? Can you hire a nanny a couple of hours a week?
Talk to your spouse, let them know you need help. If if they work full time, you are too. Raising kids and running a business is a lot. You can ask for help in the evenings, time to work after dinner a few days a week, or Saturday mornings. Can they help more with dinner or homework or other tasks around the home to take those off your plate? (I’m just throwing out ideas trying to help you get creative in ways that you have less on that never ending to-do list).
I don’t know your schedule, but I bet there’s a way to ask for help.
You, my friend, are a superhero. You are doing amazing. Even when things feel like they are too much and overwhelming. My top three ways to make the most of your to-do list will hopefully help you to fine tune your system so you’re not feeling defeated each night, overwhelmed each morning, and like you’re constantly swimming up river.
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