4 Tips for Trimming Your To-Do List

4 Tips for Trimming Your To-Do List

March 1, 2023

“My To-Do List is as long as a CVS receipt!” That’s what one of our coaching clients said when describing her level of overwhelm.

Can you relate?

So many of the business owners we work with tell us that they feel as though they are working harder than ever. They have less time for themselves and their families and sadly, some of them are losing sight of the passion and purpose that brought them into business in the first place.

It’s time to cut that list down to size, right?

Here are 4 tips that will help you to trim that To-Do List:

Defer – Take a look at your list and see if there are things that can be postponed to another time when things are less busy. Deferring an item should have a specific time so that the task does not just drop to the bottom of the list without being looked at again.

Delegate – Ask yourself if there are things that could be done by someone else on your team. Delegation is often difficult for business owners. They may have gotten into the habit of doing it all themselves out of necessity in the early days of their business. Now that you have a team, it’s time to break that habit.

Some of our clients say it’s quicker to do things themselves than to train or supervise others to do those things. That’s probably true in the short run, but it might not be the best strategy. When there are several people who can do what you do, it frees you up to do new things or to take that much-needed personal or family time without losing momentum.

Delete – If there is too much on your plate, evaluate whether there are tasks that are not really necessary. Are there things that you’ve over-complicated? Steps you’ve added to a process that really don’t make much of an impact on the outcome. If something is “nice, but not necessary,” and your list to too long, it might be time to delete the task.

One of my favorite business mentors once reminded me that “done is better than incomplete and waiting to be perfect.” It’s a good thing to remember when the “To-Do List” is much longer than the “Already Done” list.

Decline – Don’t say “yes” to another thing or add anything to the list until  you have made it more manageable. This can be a tricky one. It requires some tough judgment calls if a good opportunity comes along. Here’s a Rule of Thumb – you can add something to the list IF you defer, delegate or delete something that is already there. If you have narrowed the list down to things you must do that only you can do, then there’s no room on the list until some of those things get done. Once they are, you can say “yes” to those new opportunities.

Following these 4 Tips may not eliminate the overwhelm for good, but it will give you a head start on getting things back in balance. And here’s a bonus tip for good measure: don’t defer, delete or decline self-care. It’s important and should always have a place on your To-Do List. After all, you need to be well and healthy to enjoy all of that success you are creating.