Talent Development Centre

The Magical “To Do” List and Why You Need One!

Time management and personal productivity are important topics in business and especially critical for the independent contractor.  Why? The simple answer is that if you can make the best use of the time available to you, then you are going to achieve more.

To-do listHere are 10 thoughts on one of the most powerful tools to help you get your business under control — the To Do List.

  1. If you have a list of things to do you can just do them!  If you don’t have a list of things to do then you need to think of the things that need doing and then do them.  Nobody has a perfect memory.
  2. If you have a list of things to do then you can prioritize them. Many independent contractors, especially in IT, are working on multiple projects for multiple clients.  When you create a list with all of your deliverables, you have all of the facts and it’s easy to know what needs the most attention.  It could be in order of due date or client (or anything else).  It doesn’t need to be fancy but if you don’t have the list then you only work on what comes to mind and risk forgetting something.
  3. The more complex your business becomes the more useful this tool is.
  4. There are many theories about single list versus multiple lists; about prioritizing using A,B,C or percentage ROI or other scoring systems; about having deadline dates etc.  The truth is, if you have a to do list, you are already ahead of the game.
  5. You can refine your list(s) to suit you over time.
  6. It can be electronic (there are a million apps), it could be on paper — whatever works for you.
  7. Update it as you go. If a new project or task comes along (big or small), add it right away.  If you knock off a task then cross it off the list.
  8. Review/renew your list on a regular basis to suit you. It could be weekly or monthly, it could be every second day or once a quarter.  Just as long as it keeps you on top of what needs doing!
  9. Delegating tasks requires a whole blog entry.   Create a list specifically for this and it will remind you of who owes you what!
  10. Start or end each day with a review. You would be surprised how good it feels to cross off a few items!  You will be all set to “go” in the new day and not have to think about what needs doing.

That’s only 10 reasons why you should be using at least one to do list today.  There are probably 10,000 more reasons.  Share your favourites in the comments below.

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