Secrets Of Home Business To Do Lists

Listen up, I'm openly admitting this right here, right now. I am a to do list junkie. There, it's out in the open. I've come out of the closet. Shed my closest home business secret with more to come over the next few months ... and one more below.

Seriously, though, many busy home business entrepreneurs use a to do list to keep on top of the many tasks that need to be done when starting up a home based business, never mind to keep life and business tasks under control. 

There's planning your business ... with endless tasks to jot down, then comes marketing your business and of course, quickly after that comes getting free publicity. Then there's accounting and financing and all the legal bits that squish-squash their way in between.

Groan, the to-do's are getting longer as we speak.

Don't give up yet. When they work, to do lists are an excellent aide to home working productivity. But too often they just get out of control and become just another stick to beat yourself with when things don't get done. My secret below could fix the stick beating.

My secret below could fix the stick beating.

If you find that your list just grows longer and longer and that you only seem to fight the problem in front of you rather than getting to those tasks you truly meant to tackle how can you turbo-charge your home business to do list and finally get things done?

1.    Have three business planning lists.

It might seem counter-intuitive that if one isn't working, then three will help. But much of the problem with a to do list is that tasks get put on that aren't ripe yet.

If you want to rearrange the living room furniture or make over your home office, but aren't bothered whether that happens next week or next month, don't let it clutter today's list. Have a list for tasks that must be done today, one for this week, and one for longer term.

2.    Don't put the whole business mammoth on one list.Keep your home business organised with planned to do lists

You'll be familiar with the old joke about how to eat a woolly mammoth - one forkful at a time.  Well, tasks are like that too.

If you have a big job to accomplish, break it down to smaller tasks that you can do today, tomorrow, and next week that will lead you to finish in your required time-frame.

Not only will you be more likely to complete them, if one of them slips you haven't scuppered the whole thing.

3.    Be honest with yourself

Just putting a task on your list is not the first step to achieving it. We all have a tendency to under-estimate what can be achieved in a time period.

So, be honest.

If past experience shows you are not going to achieve seventeen jobs this afternoon, there's really no point in writing them on the list.

Spread them out over the three business lists you have and you will be much more likely to complete them.

4.    Try a 'doing' list instead

Often, although we get to the end of the day with the feeling that we haven't achieved much, we can't actually say what it was that got in the way of the tasks we didn't get to. Freelancers who are paid by the hour often keep a list by their side on which they note down what they were doing at half-hourly intervals.

Doing that enables you to see where your "time vampires" are. What are you consistently spending time on that you hadn't planned? It doesn't have to be in any great detail, but you might be surprised what insight you can glean. This type of organisation will boost your home business planning and may even boot you into making it successful.

5.    Use the right language

Writing something like phone contract isn't ever going to get things done. Break it down into small tasks and write them like active instructions: 

  • Call phone contract provider
  • Research contract prices for new iPhone

Then you have a chance of finding a spare five minutes to get them done.

Remember that little home business secret I mentioned earlier? You may think I'm stark-steering-crazy here (and happy for you to tell me so in the comments below), but if my lists seem to be overwhelming, sometimes I will add a few things on that I had forgotten to add in the first place. Not, I repeat, not,  to add more to my list ... but to give me the sheer, warped satisfaction of crossing them OFF the list straight away.

There. It's out in the open. Another home business secret worth revealing. Crazy things that us start up entrepreneurs do to stay sane and not go crazy. Crazy, hey?

Yep, I agree with you!

What tips do you have for getting your home business to do list done? Better still, are you happy to own up publicly and admit that you're as crazy as I am? Or maybe you have a few home business secrets of your very own to reveal ...