Using a to do list to help your small business

Human nature doesn’t lend itself to organization easily. We’re not instinctually wired to keep things nice and orderly. We leave that to our friends the beavers . Seriously, a little organization can go a long way to helping you run a successful small business. More importantly, it can relieve you of one of the frustrations you feel.

A to do list doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be a simple piece of paper, heck a scrap of paper, on which you write the most important things you have to do. Some people believe there are specific ways to create your to do list. An example of this is Getting Things Done commonly referred to as GTD. You may want to explore those programs, but for most people just writing down the most important things to do helps.

If you’re looking for a more formal paper method check out The Pocket Mod . It’s a paper PDA that you can print out and use. If you want something more formal of the paper variety, check out the Day Runner line of products .

You can also jump online and create your to do lists. The service that I have found to be the most useful is Remember the Milk . It’s like a to do list on steroids, since it helps you not only form your to-do list, but work what is left on it.

Whatever method you use for having a to-do list you should remember the following tips:

Try to prioritize your to-do list. Mark what is the most important and work those first. Put other tasks on the list so you won’t forget. Remember, the weakest pencil is better than the strongest memory.

Your to-do list is alive. Don’t feel like you’re a slave to what is written down. It’s a tool to help you, not enslave you. As your day goes on you can move things around.

Use it throughout the day. A to-do list doesn’t help if you don’t do it. As you accomplish your tasks go back and mark them as complete. This also helps if you’re assembling a status report, expense report or invoice.

You get out of it what you put into it. The effort has to be there for you to reap the rewards of a to-do list.

Alright, one frustration down and a few more to go!