Something I see come up for entrepreneurs time and time again is to-do list paralysis. Running a business is hard work. We have to-do lists that are miles long - not only filled with big-picture tasks, but also with those day-to-day tasks to keep your business running. Looking at this list, sometimes it feels virtually impossible to get everything done.
And the truth is: it is impossible to get everything done.
We are only human, after all. I’m here to tell you; there is a better way!
In this video: I share my process for preventing to-do list paralysis by prioritizing 3 tasks from my to-do list.
This framework helps me stay organized and gives me a way to prioritize through the week, but believe me, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Be gentle with yourself.
Let’s go into a bit more detail. Here’s what this looks like for me:
My big “brain dump” happens on Sunday nights. I could write an entire blog post about finding the time of day (or night) that works the best for you, but just find a time that you can stick with. Setting time aside on Sunday nights allows me to really take time and get a big-picture look at the week ahead before the stress of Monday hits.
During this time, I write down all the things that are nagging at me. I would encourage you to do the same. Write it all down now - you can make sense of it later.
I also take time to do this throughout the week to reassess my priorities and to keep adding to my list as new tasks arise.
Focus on My 3 Tasks
- After I write down my long list, I pick out 3 things that I need to focus on. These tasks have to be things that only I can get done. I am so grateful that I have an amazing team I can delegate to. If you’re flying solo, that’s okay. Still go ahead and pick out your 3 big tasks, you may just have to prioritize some different tasks to keep your business operating.
I like to pick out at least one BIG task that I’ve been procrastinating on. So often, we procrastinate because there are one or two big things in our way. Pick at least one of those hard tasks that you’ve been putting off and work through it!
This is a daily exercise. Keep in mind that some tasks will take an entire week, but I still set aside time everyday to take actionable steps to complete the BIG tasks.
When looking at my list, I delegate what I can, prioritize handling the most time sensitive and difficult tasks first, and then work my way down the master list. I do my best to stay focused on my list and if other items come up throughout the week, which they will, I will either delegate them out, add them to the list at the end of the day, and re-organize my to-do’s for the following day if necessary. I constantly ask myself “is this really an emergency or something that has to be handled right away?” If not, it goes on the bottom of the pile.
I try to start tackling this early in the morning, which is when I get all of my best work done. Tackling some of these big tasks in the morning is also is a way to keep myself from procrastinating. We tend to handle the easy jobs first and procrastinate on the difficult ones. I find that if I HIT the BIG ones head on first thing in the morning, the rest of my day runs smoothly.
I re-evaluate my list daily. Doing this is a way for me to reflect on what I’ve gotten done and to keep my priorities aligned for the rest of the week. I find that when I don’t do this, things can turn into a hot mess quickly! Just take a few minutes to check in with your list at the end of the day to know how to focus your priorities for tomorrow.
Doing this is going to help build your confidence and give you that sense of accomplishment. You are taking steps toward your big goals, and that is always something to be proud of.
Things to Remember:
Sometimes we have to accept that not everything is going to get done, and that’s okay. As entrepreneurs, we have to accept the fact that our job is never done. We will never go to bed at night and think to ourselves “I’m done. I’ve wiped the slate clean.” We don’t have that traditional 9-5 lifestyle where we can just check in and out and leave work at home until the next day. That’s not how we’re wired.
Give yourself the grace to be in the place where you can be at peace with where you are today.
It all comes down to this: progress over perfection.
We can’t be perfect, but we can make sure that we are taking steps toward the life of our dreams. That is what matters at the end of the day. Taking steps every single day to creating a life that you love.