Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Control of Your Day with a Meaningful “To-Do”
By Victoria Munro
As entrepreneurs, we face many demands on our time
and attention – some we can control; others are
beyond our control. It’s easy to react quickly
to crises and pressing demands of others without stopping
to fully assess the situation. Writing
a simple daily plan can put you in charge and enable
you to be proactive instead of reactive. Much
in life we can’t control, but we can take charge
of how we spend our time and what we give our attention
It helps to be crystal clear about what you want to
accomplish each day. Writing
down your main goal and a “to-do” list for
the day will also help to clear your mind so you can
focus fully on what you’re doing. Whether
you use Outlook “Tasks,” a different software
program, sticky notes on your monitor or scraps of paper
stuffed in your pocket, you’ll be far more productive
when you have a plan.
Below are some simple daily planning tips that have
helped us and other business owners write meaningful
daily “to-do” lists. Take 15 uninterrupted
minutes each day to plan. Block this time out on your
your long- and short-term goals, and consider your
progress to date.
your main goal(s) for the day, and list the tasks
you need to accomplish.
prioritize these tasks and complete them in order,
resisting any temptation to skip over or postpone
the tough ones.
reasonable times for each activity, and block these
on your calendar. Add up the time blocks to make
sure you are being realistic.
try to pack too many projects into each day. Allow
flex time for those unexpected phone calls, employee
or family interruptions, so you’re not being
rushed and running behind for appointments.
of us are early birds and others may be night owls
– we all operate on our own unique ‘clocks.’
As you make your daily “to-do” list,
keep in mind when your peak times of day are and
schedule your most challenging and creative tasks
the end of the day, review your accomplishments,
congratulate yourself on achievements and discover
what you can learn from tasks that were scheduled
but weren’t accomplished. Don’t waste
time feeling guilty about them – forgive yourself
and move on.
forget to include time for yourself, your family
you’re the boss, you can’t count on
others to recognize your achievements, so plan to
reward yourself and celebrate! It may be a walk
in the park, a massage, a cup of hot chocolate with
whipped cream on top or an afternoon off to see
When considering the many tasks you face each day,
it may be helpful to evaluate them by asking the following
– Is this task really necessary? Could it
simply be a habit?
– Is there any way to automate this?
– Can I get someone else to do this so that
I can devote my time to more profitable work –
the things I do best and enjoy most?
a system – Can we create a system to
accomplish this more efficiently?
Wearing the many ‘hats’ of a business owner,
it’s all too easy to become reactive, and live
at the mercy of circumstances and the demands of others.
A relevant, motivating goal for the day and a carefully
thought-through daily “to-do” list will
keep you in the driver’s seat, make you
more productive and enable you to run your business
instead of allowing it to run your life.
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
with tips to help you with your business, sign up for
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