Small Space Stories: The never-ending to-do list

Live With Less to do list

As a small business owner, I wear many hats (bookkeeper, writer, editor, marketer, presenter, networker, volunteer, web designer, and, MOST importantly, professional organizer). Plus, I, like most people, have a plethora of items that need to get done at home. The result of this is a seemingly never-ending list of items that need to be completed. But to-do lists are a way of life for most, if not all, of us.

So how do I work my way through my to-do list?

Well, prioritization is a critical part of how I handle these items. When something needs to be finished immediately, that’s my first item of business. However, if my list contains items that are on an equal playing field in terms of completion, I like to handle the smaller tasks first. That way, I can tick more items off my to-do list as I work my way through what needs to get done.

For example, yesterday I needed to do the following:
- Fold and put away laundry
- Put away dishes
- Make grocery list
- Buy groceries
- Onboard two new clients into the system
- Write a blog post
- Return library books
- Design and edit NAPO Georgia monthly newsletter
- Review personal finances
- Weekly mileage report

These all happened to be about the same in terms of priority. Nothing was critical in terms of needing to get done immediately.

So here’s how it all went down in terms of completion:
1) Started the laundry
2) Put away dishes
3) Wrote a grocery list
4) Reviewed personal finances on mint.com
5) Ran to the grocery store and the library
6) Transferred clothing to the dryer
7) Input data into weekly mileage report
8) Onboarded two new clients into the system
9) Designed and edited NAPO Georgia monthly newsletter
10) Folded and put away clothes
11) Wrote, edited and posted a blog post

This is what I know to be true for me. The more tasks on my to-do list, the harder it is for me to focus on detail-oriented tasks such as writing and editing. All of those tasks add up to one big jumble of brain clutter for me, so I like to get the smaller, easier tasks out of the way first. I then spend a larger chunk of time focusing on writing or researching or any sort of task that requires focus.

As you can see from my list, I knocked out the easier, less-involved tasks first, so I could then get to the items that needed my full-on attention, like writing and editing. This works for me because knocking off the easier items helps me feel accomplished and on top of everything I need to finish in a day. Again, this is what works for me.

Is my way the only way? Nope.
Are there other efficient ways to get a to-do list completed? You betcha.
Does this way work for me? Yes. Yes it does.

Having the awareness of what works for me is a big part of why I can plow through my to-do list. Knocking nearly half of the items off the list in about 30 minutes builds momentum and a sense of accomplishment. AND as I write this, I’m working on the final item of my to-do list for the day.

When it comes to your to-do list, what works best for you?

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