by Melanie Spring
When your to-do list becomes your to-doom list, it's time to own it.
As entrepreneurs our entire lives revolve around the business we started. Every waking hour, every conversation, every thought is consumed by that business. We're always trying to figure out the next thing we should do... marketing, business development, new applications, blog posts, refining services, hiring, promotions, etc. Even when we're busy, we're wondering what will happen if things don't stay busy.
Those who cope best with high-stress environments are those who can compartmentalize their lives. Personal vs. professional. Home vs. work. Working really hard while setting boundaries can help us keep moving forward but if we don't draw those lines in the sand, we'll hit a wall and fall backward. But how do we keep up with what's going on at work while still maintaining healthy relationships with our staff AND our friends/family? Maintaining a realistic list.
As I said in my last post, organizing professionals will tell you to write a list. The problem with this is we tend to never find time to write a list... and if we do, it's in haste and incomplete. The key is to set aside some time to write a list of all the things floating around in our heads. I did this on Wednesday. For one hour I took all of my scratch pads, my Trello boards, post-its, and my memory and wrote it all onto a HUGE post-it note (see it pictured here).
First, write down the compartments of your life, such as:
Second, start from the bottom. Most of us prioritize based on the number of things we have on our list. The last compartment usually contains the least amount of things. Get all your notes together and start writing them in one place. Write down everything. Even if it is a reminder to brush your teeth every day.
Finally, move your way up your list and split into sub categories. Under my Work category, you'll see I have Projects, Proposals, Portfolio, Marketing, and Boss Stuff. I wrote all the high-level stuff so I could keep it generally organized. I knew my projects stuff needed daily notes and changes so I added sticky notes with specific things that need to be done for each. I can redo this list weekly
Once you have all of your lists together in one place, your mind will feel a little less burdened. Seeing all in one place will help you make it more manageable. Hang it next to your desk. Take a picture of it. Transcribe it into the online/mobile application of your choice. Do whatever you need to start crossing things off.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
1. When Your To-Do List Becomes Your To-Doom List
2. BEST APPS: Keeping Track of Your To-Do List
3. HOW TO: Create a Daily To-Do List (Without Losing Your Mind)