Ahh, the elusive to-do list. Managing your business tasks and to-do’s can be overwhelming. Writing a to-do list can actually help you stay organized and get things done. Sometimes, though, a long list of tasks can be daunting. I know the feeling all too well when everything seems to pile up at once and I’m not sure where to start on my giant to-do list. But, I have found a simple way to manage your to-do list that has been working for me and I want to share it with you. Now you may be thinking, “Julie, seriously, just write a list on a freaking piece of paper and do the work!” But trust me on this one, it has been the most satisfying and effective method I’ve ever used (and a little bit liberating – I’ll explain why later).
I am the Type-A personality and must always have a to-do list to keep track of everything. You can usually find my scratch lists all over my desk on different papers, notepads, or post-its. I have changed methods many times and usually use whatever is around me at the time. I’ve switched between paper and digital, but each method I try doesn’t seem to work or becomes too cumbersome.
I’m a big believer in using any organization method that works best for you right now. And sometimes consistency is key, but trying new methods is crucial if your current method isn’t working. Changing things up to work for your current self is always the best method.
I don’t have the time in my normal job (nor the justification) to create another Bullet Journal for keeping business lists. Plus, I don’t want a bunch of scratch lists in my beautiful BuJo – it seems a little more precious to me than just for list keeping. Since I manage my schedules and other notes digitally, I don’t have a need for a BuJo. But that means, I still need a place to keep my to-do list, but I haven’t found anything that works best for my business to-do list. Until now!
I am now using the new method I’ve learned from Becky Higgins. Yes, she has done it again, woman entrepreneur extraordinaire!
Her method helps to prioritize what is to be worked on in that moment and has helped me to stay on track with accomplishing tasks. It’s an extremely simple method, but it has helped me focus on what is possible to accomplish right now.
Let me tell you about her method
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Supplies You’ll Need
- Spiral hardcover notebook (I got mine at CVS and it is the A5 size approx. 6in x 8in)
- Favorite pen (Mine is the Bic Round Stic)
- Favorite highlighter (Mine is the Bic brite liner)
- Favorite black marker (Mine is a Bic Mark it or a Sharpie)
The Becky Higgins’ To-Do List Method
- Write all of your tasks on one page.
- As new tasks come up, add them to your list.
- Each day look at your list and highlight only the items that you think you are able to accomplish or need to prioritize for the day. I actually highlight based on blocks of time when I’m working so I don’t become overwhelmed. If I only have 2 hours to work, I will only highlight what I think I can accomplish in those 2 hours. Doing this helps me prioritize my tasks and make sure that I choose what absolutely needs to get done. I notice that if I highlight too much, then I feel the creeping sensation of overwhelm and stress. Highlighting only what I can accomplish now helps me reduce that overwhelm and stress.
- As you accomplish any task, cross it out with the black marker. As silly as this sounds, it really makes the task feel final and complete, plus it removes the item visually from the to-do list by blacking it out.
- When your page is getting full, tear it out and start a new list. Transfer over any remaining items to your new list and start again. This step is very freeing for me – tearing out the page and throwing it away. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually one to keep pages in my notebooks. But there is something absolutely liberating about throwing away that page.
That’s it! Super easy and simple. You can watch here to see Becky explain her method in a video and how it works specifically for her:
In her video, Becky does talk about how she also tracks her personal to-do list items on the same page. I have varied her method slightly, where I use one page per business and leave out my personal tasks (those are in my Bullet Journal for our family to see at all times). So I have one page for my “normal” job and another page for Crafty Julie. I usually start a new page for my “normal” job about once every 3-5 days depending on the tasks I need to complete for each project. Whereas with Crafty Julie I usually start a new page once every couple of weeks for the business side of blogging.
When I found Becky’s method, I tried it in both the paper and digital format. I will tell you that the paper method for me is the way to go. It’s possible to do this same method digitally, but the action of ripping out a page… that’s what is sticking with me and what I like so much about this method. It kind of motivates me to get things done on my list so that I can start a new page.
I also found I’m able to give more realistic turnover dates and manage my time better. I can look down at my list and decide what can and should be done in that moment and get to work!
As with everything else, you should find the method that works best for your personality. But I would highly suggest to try this simple way to manage your to-do list if your current method doesn’t seem to be working.
Let me know what you think of Becky Higgins’ method in the comments! Have you tried it or something similar or does another method work better for you?
Until next time, go out and lead your best creative life today 🙂