Get Things Done With Task Lists

Here is another BizTip for the entrepreneurs who find it difficult to get everything done within the working day:  “Get things done by using task lists!

Christoff Oosthuysen is the resident business coach on Randall Abrahams’ weekly radio show, Point of View. Here is another of the weekly BizTips


You might perhaps be one of the many entrepreneurs who find it difficult to get to all the tasks and responsibilities you have to attend to. In fact, it might seem that your To-Do-List is just ever-increasing in length and that as soon as you scratch one item off your list, 4 new ones appear. That’s plain frustrating!

The good news is that it can be different. You are also not the only one struggling with getting stuff done within the time you have available. So let’s look at what others are doing to get things done…

If you thought it is OK to keep just one list, you’re wrong. You need to keep three lists:

  • The first list is your To-Do-List with the tasks and activities of the day that you have to attend to. This is your guide to getting things done which you must update at least daily.
  • The second is your Replies-List where you keep track of the feedback or information others have promised to give you. Yes, you’ll get your own things done by keeping track of the promises made to you. Review your Replies-List on at least a weekly basis.
  • And the third is a Parked-List where you keep track of all those things you would like to remember for future attention, but which will not be on your radar for action for a while. These are important things for you to remember in the future, which you can add to the Parked-List every day, but which you need to review at least every month.

The best is to spend 5 to 10 minutes every day on planning your activities. Start your day with it. Or better still, do it every evening after things have settled down.

When most people start using these task lists, they struggle to organise it into a use-friendly guide to help them get things done; and they specifically have difficulty in prioritising their To-Do-List items so that the things that really matter get preference.

Try these pointers to help you with your To-Do-List:

  • Use the method that’s best for you. Some like doing it on paper, while others prefer a computer spreadsheet or a computer application synchronised with their smartphone. Use what works best for you.
  • When making your list, break down more complex responsibilities into smaller tasks, and focus on one at a time. List the smaller tasks in your To-Do-List.
  • And then, make a simple list of your tasks. Look at them one-by-one and categorise them based on how important they are, how urgent they are, and what time during the day you’ll deal with this task most productively.
  • When thinking about the importance of a task, mark those that contribute most to your main goals as “A”, those that contribute to your secondary goals as “B” and those that you have to do, but do not really contribute to your current goals as “C”.
  • When thinking about the urgency of a task, mark those that have to be done before a specified time in the day as “1”, mark those that have to be done by the end of the day as “2” and those that need to be done soon, but not necessarily today as “3”.
  • And when thinking about the time in the day that will be best to attend to the task, mark those you’ll deal with most productively in the early morning as “X”, those for late morning a “Y” and those for the afternoon as “Z”.
  • Now you can plan your day. Ask yourself first: How do I guarantee that I get the “A” tasks marked as “1” and “2” done today? Then you ask: How do I get the other “A” tasks done this week? When you’ve answered these questions, you allocate time for the “B” tasks and then only the “C” tasks.
  • Some of us find it easier to first attend to the tasks we dread. By first doing the more difficult tasks, it becomes easy to also knock off the rest. Or, if we know when in the day we best deal with a specific task, use the “X-Y-Z” allocation as a guide.
  • And you should also allocate time to reward yourself when important tasks are done. Give yourself a deadline to get it done by. And when it is done go for a walk to the coffee shop, or make yourself a great cappuccino yourself.

Remember, the success of your business depends on you.

Make sure you achieve your goals by getting your tasks done. Use task lists!

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