How to get started on your to-do list

The best way to get started on your to-do list is just to start.

It sounds so simple, but it's true!

But you're still asking 'HOW? Because my to-do list is a mile long and I have no idea where to start!'

Okay. I hear you. I've been there, and I've got some tips for you.

Step one - write down everything.

Yes - everything. Everything you need to do - biz related, housework related, everything you can think of that you need or want to do, write it down in a list. You can use pen and paper, whiteboard, an online tool - whatever works for you.

This is always my first step when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I write down absolutely everything I can think of that needs to get done.

Why do I start by writing everything down, when I could just start one of the things on the list already? Because usually, I have a million things running around in my head bumping into each other and causing me stress. Once I've written them all down, my mind is a lot clearer, and I can look at things objectively to come up with a game plan.

Try it. Even if you're not usually a List Person like I am, give it a go and see how it feels.

Once you've written out your to-do list, then you can decide how to approach it. Do you want to tackle the quick, easy tasks first, so you feel like you're achieving a lot? Can you delegate some of these tasks to other members of your family or your team?

I don't know about you, but I LOVE crossing things off my to-do list. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something, even if I'm only crossing off a couple of easy things! Then I have momentum to get the rest of it done.

If you're still feeling overwhelmed after you have a written to-do list, I'd love for you to download my free e-book, Overcoming Overwhelm. You can sign up for it right at the bottom of this post, and I guarantee the five steps I talk about will bring clarity and peace.

Written procedures: the painless method

You've probably heard lots of business bloggers talk about how important written procedures are. I know I have. And honestly, as good an idea as it sounds, it also sounds like a lot of work!

But I realised it doesn't have to be. Here's the method I use to develop written procedures for my biz.

First, I write down each step that I can remember in a text document. Yes, I'm a bit forgetful at times - isn't everyone? As I go through the list of steps, other steps that I've left out will come back to me, and I'll stick them in where they belong.

I'll re-read the list, and check that I've put in everything. If I've missed something, I'll add it in.

Then, the next time I'm doing that particular task, I'll keep that file open on my desktop while I'm doing it. This allows me to a) remember what order to do things in, and b) add in any notes that I couldn't when I was writing the procedure in the first place.

I can also add in any 'if this happens, then do that' comments for certain steps. For instance, if my client's web hosting doesn't use cPanel, I'll have a different procedure for installing WordPress than if cPanel was available.

Every time I do the task from that point on, I refer to the list I made at the beginning. Each time, I not only follow the list of steps, but I also add any changes or comments to the file for next time.

Sure, setting up written procedures takes a bit of effort at the start. But the time you spend on doing it will save you time in the long run.

But why?

What if you need to take on an employee? Or you're going on maternity leave, and someone needs to take over for you for a few weeks? Wouldn't it be easier to direct them to your written procedures than having to explain everything yourself?

I thought so. :-)

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