How to Combat the Never-Ending To-Do List

How to Combat the Never-Ending To-Do List

Balancing the different tasks that need doing, and prioritizing the right things, is a key part of running a successful business.

Prioritizing the different tasks that need doing is vital if you’re looking to achieve success. Every company has a variety of things that need doing on a regular basis to ensure it is being as productive as possible, but bosses at smaller firms often struggle with this.

Managers in small businesses do a lot of these regular tasks themselves, to save on costs. But this means there's often a never-ending to-do list, triggering high stress levels and potentially risking important things being forgotten.

How can you ensure you're prioritizing the right elements of your business, allowing you to be more productive and use your time effectively.

1. Collate your tasks

In order to make the most of your time at work, you need to have one place where all the tasks you're responsible for completing are collated. This can be something as simple as a spreadsheet or something more complex like Liquid Planner or Trello. What's important is that you're able to use it effectively and clearly see what you've completed. This will allow you to keep a track of what's been done and see what you still need to make time to do.

2. Urgent vs. important

It's likely that most of your tasks are important to the running of your business, but some are urgent and others aren't. You need to identify what potentially damages your company if it's not completed. Whether through missing client deliverable deadlines you risk losing their long-term loyalty or filing your taxes, both of these are urgent tasks. Everything else is important but won't have serious negative consequences for your business if they're not done ASAP.

3. Place a value on each task

Some urgent tasks are worth more to your company than others. For example, filing your taxes late could earn you a hefty fine that could potentially put your whole operation at risk. This is obviously much more important to get done than work for a client who only pays you $200 a month. Placing a value on each of your jobs can also help you prioritize client work so you and your team aren't running yourself into the ground trying to get everything done on time.

4. Understand the wider implications

It's worth considering that it's not just monetary value you need to reflect in these calculations though. If a number of other people are waiting on you to finish your project so they can start on theirs, you're potentially risking wasting the time of multiple employees. Not only will this financially lose you money, by dropping productivity, but could also seriously hit morale if you are continually jeopardizing the schedules of others.

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