I’m a big fan of to-do lists. Like, if I lose my to-do list, I lose a little bit of myself, too. I’m an “organized mess” type of person, so I find that I can work best just by creating a master to-do list for the week and work on plowing through it. However, for large projects, like starting a new business or overhauling a blog, the master to-do list oftentimes becomes overwhelming. You see everything you have on the list and, oh boy, there sure is a lot of it, and you become totally overcome by it. Maybe you start thinking about it, become frustrated, and throw in the towel. If you live for instant gratification, this can be particularly challenging.
True fact: good things take time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, just like, for example, you can’t have your business up and running two days after thinking of a killer idea. You’ve gotta plan and you’ve gotta be methodical. However, being methodical doesn’t equate to moving slow. You can still move at a fast pace, you’ve just got to do it in a smart way. You get what I’m sayin’?
So here’s what you do: you take your master to-do list and you break things down into small chunks. Then, you work through those chunks until you have no chunks left and have to develop new chunks. Here’s a description on how to do it, and, if you’re so inclined, scroll to the bottom of the page to download a free to do list template that you can use to increase your productivity!
Step 1: Create A Master To-Do List With EVERYTHING You Need To Do
Everything. Get it all out of your head and down on paper. Write. It. Down. This will ensure you don’t forget anything in the next steps.
Step 2: Create A List Of The Things You Need To Do ASAP
List the things you need to start doing and check on immediately, like in the next couple of days. Tie this into your list of things that other people need to do (see below), since you’ll want to get in touch with any people that you need to make your project happen ASAP to give them enough time to complete whatever it is you’re having them do.
Step 3: Create A List Of Things You Need To Do In The Next Two Weeks
After you’ve finished your ASAP tasks, you can start working on things you need to work on in the next couple of weeks.
Step 4. Create A List Of Things That Need To Be Done At Some Point But You’re Not Ready For Them Yet
Whatever you haven’t put in the first two lists can go here. If you want to keep things ultra-organized, try prioritizing them by listing the tasks in the general order they should be done, with “LAUNCH MY AWESOME PROJECT!” at the bottom.
Step 5. Create A List Of Things That Other People Need To Do
Maybe you’re working with a designer (like me!) to build you a website. Maybe you’ve got a couple of calls into different manufacturers who you need price quotes from. Whatever it is, create a separate list of things that you need to rely on other people for. Try to get a time estimate from them on how long the task will take on their end. And then take a deep breath, because it’s out of your control.
Step 6. Start Working And Re-Evaluate Regularly
Starting with those things that need to be taken care of as soon as possible, it’s time to get to work! When you’ve finished your first batch of tasks, it’s time to re-evaluate. Move stuff from your two-week list into your ASAP list, and move stuff from your last list up to your two-week list if applicable. Make progress and be amazed!
Feel free to integrate this system into your existing productivity workflow as you see fit! How do you like to stay on track?