Is it a coincidence that after years of not being productive and only making a little money that my productivity soared after I threw away my whiteboard? You tell me. But switching from a complex to-do list whiteboard system into a very simple and paperless e-mail based task list strategy is much easier and faster for me to use.
Instead of a whiteboard, only look at the week ahead. What do you need to do this next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on? It’s okay if you only have a couple of tasks for each day… maybe you don’t want to work so many hours. When you use a daily task list you’re knocking small items out of the water, instead of slowly chipping away on a huge “project” you might not ever finish.
These tiny deadlines are built right in! These 5 articles have to be published on Wednesday, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. That beats the open-ended to-do list method, and allows you to give priority to smaller task. After a while you also develop an intuition about how long each task will take… so you can schedule your days in such a way that you make the most use of your time.
When you have a to-do list consisting of smaller items, you feel more accomplished by getting four tasks finished each day instead of making “2% progress” on a project that day. It’s also easier to explain to a business partner or an accountability partner, and you spend less time drafting that task list in the first place, because it only takes a few minutes to write out!
Most importantly, the task list allows you to make more money because it forces you to work as an assembly line format. Finish this task, then move to the next task without resting… without giving yourself time to “feel” tired. With a task list, you stop looking ahead to the next few months or years and look at what’s right in front of you… what will you do in the next few minutes or hours to make you money?