Make a list – check it twice
Today we taking the next step to getting you and your business holiday-ready by preparing and scheduling your Master Task list.
This list is a consolidation of all the jobs that are in your head, scrawled on post-it notes, in the Notes app on your phone, on your whiteboard, wherever you have them noted.
You can type it up or write it by hand – the key is to have everything in one spot.
Once you have captured everything, the list then needs to be prioritised.
There are a number of ways to do this. Some people like to number everything in order of priority, others use the four quadrant approach - categorising tasks as either Important and Urgent, Important but Not Urgent, Not important but Urgent or Not Important and Not Urgent. You could even do a combination of both. There is no right or wrong way, what you are trying to do is identify what tasks take priority over the coming weeks.
When prioritising your list, there are two things that you need to be:
Realistic & Ruthless
Having a shiny new logo or updated website to kick off the new year would be lovely but if you haven’t made any moves towards getting these kind of jobs done, now is not the time to start! Put these on your list for next year. On that note…
Have another list – for 2017. I said yesterday the world will not end on 23 December. If you have an important, non-urgent task that you really can not see yourself actioning this year then add it to a list for next year (we will talk more about next year’s list later this month).
Review those tasks at the bottom of your list – the non-urgent, unimportant tasks. Have some of them been on your list since January? Keeping them on your list is only going to continue to cause you stress. Let these ones go. That’s right – cross them off you list. Pick up your pen and put a great big fat line through them. Ahhhhhhhhhh, does that feel better?
Now that you have your Master Task list, open up your calendar and take a look at all that blank space you identified yesterday. You are going to fill (some of) it with these tasks.
By scheduling the tasks into your calendar, you are giving yourself time to complete each task.
It stops you defaulting to the easiest job on your to-do list and putting off the more taxing stuff. Here are some tips to get the most out of this exercise:
Break it down – With larger bigger tasks, the whole job may appear overwhelming so aim to take action on one or two steps at regular intervals throughout the month. You may not get it all done but making some inroads will give you a head start for the new year.
Batch – can you see jobs that can be done at the same time? Examples are phone calls, emails, content writing, social media posting, on-line gift shopping J. Batch these jobs together to maximise efficiency.
- Schedule an Hour of Power – got lots of little scrappy jobs that fill you with little joy (think filing, logging expenses)? Give yourself an hour to smash through these. Make sure you have something fun scheduled in to do at the end of the hour.
- Leave blank space - do not fill up your entire calendar! In a fantasy world we will only work on jobs from this list from now until Christmas but business (and life) will get in the way. Customers will want your attention, the printer will run out of toner and you’ll need to do an emergency dash to Officeworks, you’ll go out for one drink and end up having ten… you get the picture. Make space for contingencies - and for you to do the other holiday-proofing exercises we are going to run through over the coming weeks.
Now it’s over to you. I have deliberately made today’s task a “Friday job” as I think it’s an important job to get it done before the weekend. It will free up some headspace and make you feel focused for the weeks to come, I promise.