Most people have a daily or weekly task list that helps them stay on track. Such lists are a great way to ensure that deadlines are met and nothing is overlooked. However, your task list can also serve as a distraction. Some people are so motivated by placing that ‘tick’ next to a task once it is complete that the task list itself becomes a list of redundant items that keep you busy, but do nothing to serve your end goal.
If you find that your list is more about the ‘tick’ than the items on the list, it might be time to reconsider your priorities. If your list is keeping you busy and making you feel overwhelmed without helping you to actually stay on task, it might be time to reassess the purpose of your list.
1. Be Still and Think
Taking time to give real consideration to a project is vital. Ideas do not come fully formed. You need to mull them over, imagine different outcomes, play with the notion before you start executing a plan. Without time set aside to just sit and think, you are likely doing busy work just to stay distracted. Some things to think about include:
- What is the overall goal?
- How would this project benefit the business?
- Is this a fully formed idea ready for execution?
You don’t need lists, just some time to be with your thoughts.
2. Invest in Questions
When we are busy, we sometimes neglect to ask questions. Investigating an issue or product or even a competitor is important, but sometimes these considerations are neglected in favour of task completion.
In B2B operations, it is easy to forget that you need to keep track of your competition, because contract negotiations can be long and, when finalised, can be long term. However, it is vital that you know who your competition is and what they are offering so that your pricing, product and service remains relevant.
3. Invest in Planning
Creating a plan and following it allows your business to run smoothly. Is is from this plan that you should be drawing your task list. When you have a plan and the team understand all the steps and goals, people are able to take ownership of their work. You create more time to focus on goals and less time answering questions and tying up loose ends.
The aim of a plan is to inform you of what needs to be done and when. From this you can define your tasks. If your task list is filled with unrelated work, perhaps it is time to consider either paring back your task list and only include things that are relevant to the plan, or hiring an assistant who can take care of the tasks that are not directly related to the plan but require action.
Now that you have considered taking time to think, question and plan, it is time to work on the purpose of that ‘tick’. Your task list is personal and there is no correct way to use it. There are some tips that can help you use it in an efficient way:
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Think of your task list like a grocery list. You can only tick it off the list once it is physically in hand. If you have milk in the basket, ok, tick it off, but if you don’t, you should realise before you get to the check out so that nothing is left behind. Use your task list the same way, never tick off an item until it is complete.
You need to be accountable for your task list. If you have dates, appointments or calls listed for certain times, make sure you honour them. The point of the task list is to help motivate you to stay on task and do even those things that you’d rather forget.
Your task list should be yours. Make it a rewarding experience. Some people enjoy using gadgets with alarms and notifications and connected content so that everything is kept to a schedule. Other people prefer to write it all down on a piece of paper and carry around a notebook. While other people prefer to keep a laminated sheet of set daily and weekly tasks that can be rewritten on with a whiteboard marker. It does not matter how you create your task list, as long as it works for your needs and gives you a sense of achievement when you see things completed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
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