Now, I am definitely one for list making. I will go as far as adding “shower” or “eat”, which some find hilarious that I even need to put those things on a list. Making a daily list is a great idea; however, I find it best to break down my priorities for business and personal health. When I would just write down everything I needed to do on a list, I would often not accomplish what I wanted (no surprise there). I also found that important tasks were getting pushed to later in the week. The unrealistic expectation I put on myself was actually making me feel less productive (see more on this from Week 1 of my Private Practice).
Honestly, if you still like the pen and paper method, which I love, getting yourself a good planner is the first place to start. The planner I have now allows space for you to set monthly and weekly goals/tasks. I usually put a bunch of ideas and goals on there sporadically and then take the time daily to break down my weekly tasks into daily priorities. I usually set 3-5 daily priorities for myself (as related to my business) and this widely varies based on what clients/classes I have scheduled. I also set personal/health goals for the day, which are always a priority. These personal/health goals usually involve things like exercise* and meal prep. Since my planner has space for me to write out weekly tasks, my daily goal is to take 1-3 items from that master list that isn’t a priority for the day and get it done.
When thinking about prioritizing my daily tasks, I had to think to myself, “What am I doing out of habit?” Often, we do things without even realizing and they end up being a huge time sink. One thing I had to change when prioritizing, was checking my email every time my phone went off. I now limit this to about 3 times per day. Think to yourself what are you doing now that can be changed, eliminated, or simplified to allow more time for your priorities.
With making a priority list for the day, remember not to overbook yourself. If you are stretched to the max, the quality of your interactions can suffer. Also, don’t continue adding to your list if you find yourself with more time to spare. Use that time to do something else you enjoy (hang with a friend, go for a walk, play an instrument, etc). I often felt like if I was done everything by 3pm, I still needed to do more after that. I mean, don’t business owners work all hours of the day?! It was hard for me to get used to the idea that I didn’t need to put in 10-12 hour days anymore and if I did, it was for a particular reason and not my status quo.
Last point I have for you with organization and prioritizing is to be okay with having to re-prioritize your list. I woke up one morning and realized that my WordPress “about me” section was from 4-years ago. Turns out that when I updated my “about me” I only did it for the one page and not the other…oops. That instantly became my priority for the day. I ended up spending about 2 hours redoing my WordPress layout. The next day, I ended up spending 3 hours updating my “services” page on my website. This replaced the time I was going to spend following up with potential partnerships. Was it a good choice? Definitely. A lot of businesses will go directly to my website to find out what I do, especially if I just reached out to them for a potential partnership proposal, so having a well polished website is crucial.
I hope this helps you to organize your business (or daily habits) to be more effective and efficient. Leave a comment about how this has helped you or let me know you tips for staying organized!
**Just a side note here. As a Dietitian, I talk about exercise with my clients for the various health benefits; however, I make it a priority for my daily business life because I find that it helps me to recharge, clear my mind, and just feel better overall. I usually aim for a short, 15-minute, workout daily and a 45-minute workout 4 times per week. I also try and get up every hour from my computer to walk around my apartment. Your workout schedule can be quite different from this and my routine is not an indicator of any “gold standard” approach.