Every day, it seems as if there’s a new app released, each designed to help you crush your to-do list. Here’s the problem I’ve found: They’re fantastic for helping you create to-do lists, but they’re not so great with the crushing part.
Why? Because you're the reason your to-do list remains uncrushed.
If you find your to-dos turning more into a whole list of I didn’ts and I won’t evers, here are three ideas to help you start making real headway on your loathed to-do list:
1. Go Manual
There’s just something about a pen and paper that makes things real. So ditch your digital list of to-dos and grab a real, live (okay, maybe not live, but physical) notebook.
When I started writing down my list of to-dos for the day on a piece of paper, I discovered a certain joy in crossing them off as I transitioned each once from to-dos to dones. The adrenaline rush that came with a simple strikethrough motion—well, I never would have believed it had I not felt it. It’s easy to become conditioned to alert sounds and reminder chimes that come from our task list app-du-jour. It’s harder to ignore something that you wrote with your own hand, even if you can't decipher what you just jotted down.
Did you know that people who write things down and share those to-dos or goals with others are 33 percent more likely to achieve them? There’s a fantastic book by Henriette Anne Klauser called Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want and Getting It. In the book, Klauser makes the case for pen and paper. Apparently, when you physically write something down, your brain is less likely to let you hit the snooze on that task than if you type it out.
To-do list? Meet your match in pen and paper. Sounds like there’s not much that can get by you if you’re willing to give the old school pen-and-paper method a try.
2. Put Someone Else in Charge
Let’s be honest about your day: You have all the time you need to get everything that needs doing done. Right?
Lies and more lies right there, my friend. It’s time to outsource your to-do list.
Why not enlist the services of an assistant, virtual or in-person, to wrangle your to-do list? This way, they’ll not just take the to-dos off your plate—they can delegate so you’re not the one in charge of your entire and ever-growing task list.
When your tasks can be divided into those that require your involvement and those that don’t, you might be surprised with the results of hiring someone to help you out. A $20-per-hour assistant can make sure that everyday tasks are handled and keep you on target for the more pressing ones that require your time and presence (like critical meetings, reports and, of course, your family and friends).
Those to-do lists can often get in the way of all the living that’s out there. Isn't $100/week worth it for your sanity?
If you’re on an even tighter budget, check out Fancy Hands. It’s a monthly subscription service that responds to task requests on the fly. Plans range from $25 to $65 per month and from five to 25 tasks. Not a bad way to get an item—or 25—off your plate, eh?
3. Ship It Out
Are expenses, taxes and the overall numbers side of your business dragging you down? Get a grip. Or rather, get a box. Maybe Shoeboxed is what you need.
Instead of spending precious time handling the bookkeeping and expense tracking side of your business, let the folks at Shoeboxed do it for you. For plans ranging from $10 to $100 per month, you can dump every receipt—digital or physical—into their hands and they'll create a neat online account so you'll have a clear picture of where your money's going.
Seem too good to be true? It’s not. And every receipt is verified by an actual human being to ensure the highest level of accuracy. If you already use popular accounting or bookkeeping programs, odds are, your Shoeboxed data can be seamlessly synced as well. Check out their FAQ list, and take logging all those receipts from your recent trip off your list and get back to the part of your business that makes money.
It's better than sitting and staring at finances, says the columnist with a Shoeboxed account, bookkeeper and CPA.
There are plenty of resources out there to help you digitize your to-do list, but you’re the only one who can turn them into dones. If what you're doing isn't working, why not try a different approach? Relish the feeling you get when you cross an item off your list. Ask for a bit of help. Get your finances under control so you can focus on those critical and revenue-generating to-dos that need your undivided attention.
Your business is waiting. Cross that other stuff that’s getting in the way off your list, and get to it.
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