How to get things done?
That is a question heard and stated often. There are people and companies who make a living advising others on just that. Even in my business, I am often asked for suggestions. One thing that is obvious is that there is no one-size-fits-all. That can be frustrating for those who have yet to find what works from them.
Many have the appointment schedule well in hand but the To Do list just seems to grow wildly. The Wall Street Journal Online Small Business section featured an article on Five Tips for Managing Your To Do List. The article was written by entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz. His approach while simple could be just the ticket for those who's list just never seem to end.
The basics are:
1.) Use Paper
I agree with this, I have tried to do electronic to do list and find I often end up on a tangent because an email came in, an IM, or something I think I can do "real quick" since I am already on the computer distracts me
2.) Categorize into two types: Makes Money or Makes You Happy
I like this one a lot. The to do list can get filled quickly with lots of mundane, boring and hard tasks. By categorizing into the good of the business and the good of you, it is easy to ensure you doing the right task at the right time. It also, makes it clear those tasks that are candidates for delegation.
3.) Categorize Later
As new tasks come up, write them down and continue with what you were working on. At the end of the day, review. Are the tasks for the good of the business, good of you or candidates for delegation.
I like his simple approach which is similar to one I use and have passed along to friends and colleagues at their request.
It retrospect I probably went a little too deep on the categories (Admin, Finances, Marketing, Development, etc.). I prefer a checkbox to crossing off but the idea is the same, showing progress. There is one column I use that would be hard for me to get away from given that a large part of my work includes project and time management - Due Date. I tend to timebox everything.
If you have not found what works for you, keep trying. This is only a couple of examples. Others to explore include:
Don't forget to share your favorite task management system.