The List: To-do or Not To-Do
Are you a lister? I mean, do you have a to-do list?
Some people have to-do lists that are sorted by priority, days or even by categories, and to that I say, “Bah!” No, I more than just say it, I add a little snort, too. Because my experience has taught me that many of those people spend more time on creating and organizing those lists than they do on getting stuff done.
Now, I am not saying that a to-do list is all bad. It’s not. Busy entrepreneurs and successful business owners have a lot on their plates and probably can’t remember it all. I know I can’t. A list can help you remember to do those things that have to be done.
But if you find that your list is longer than your arm (or has more pages than your favorite novel) chances are you need to make some changes. Those kinds of lists will never be manageable and let me tell you why. It’s very simple.
You can’t do it all and even when you try, probably can’t get everything done by a deadline by yourself.
Not trying to be a Donny Downer, but the fact is that anything that stays on your list for more than a few weeks, either needs to go away or be delegated. That’s different than saying you just have to get it done or approach the list with the first-on, first-off mentality. Neither of those strategies will work, and you know it.
Here’s a little thought I want you to ponder–
You probably started those lists to get organized, right? And to prevent things from falling through the cracks. Both good things. So instead of stopping at the end of the list, use it and make it work.
Many business owners say that they can’t afford to hire anyone to do anything on their list. Well, before you agree and hang your head over that volume of to-dos on your desk, ask yourself how many of those items you can’t get ticked off the list actually make you money. And then ask yourself what your priority should be. Making money is probably high on that priority list.
So float this –
You do the things that make you money and let someone else take care of the things that support your making money.
Let me give you an example I like to use here in the office:
The Big Guy is great at meeting people, setting up events and presenting workshops. In fact, he excels at that and it makes him money.
But he spends hours putting together programs, sending out invitations, preparing handouts, printing programs and materials and setting up the back end technical registration pages, events notices, events pages on websites, etc., etc., etc.
If he spent those hours setting up and presenting more workshops, he’d make more money. And someone else – making less, but more proficient (probably) – could get all the admin work done for him.
The thing is, the list is made and whoever you bring in to do the work has an organized list to work from so their work should be efficient and cost you less than hiring someone and letting them sit while you prepare their work. Make them part of a process and their presence will become even more efficient and effective – they will know what to do, how to do it and when it needs to be done – without lengthy explanations and directions.
Now, I know he’ll say he likes to do these things – creating curriculum and tinkering with technology. He doesn’t have to prepare the final drafts of every handout and print it off. And if he saw all the computer efforts for what it is – a hobby – and do it in his spare time on something that does not impede business growth, he’d be able to have his cake and eat it, too.
So, the next time you look at that list that is as long as your 7-foot uncle’s leg, think about what makes you money and where you should be spending your time. Make those things the items on your to-do list and delegate the rest to someone else.
Work to your strengths – and let others do the same. Build on the positive and check those items off those lists while you make money and bring others along with you.
To Your Success!