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A few weeks ago I was going through my iPad Notes app archiving and deleting the notes I no longer needed, when I came across no less than three lengthy To Do lists, all with pretty much the same information. Added to that I also have Trello boards with, you guessed it the same information (-For those that don’t know Trello is a very useful project management app). This means that I am spending my time repetitively noting things down and not always doing the work I am reminding myself to do. How counter-productive, and no wonder I find myself feeling overwhelmed, and unproductive at times!  

Juggling the demands of work and life requires being organised to keep on top of things. And, for those of us running our own businesses where, in the early days especially, you can find yourself wearing multiple hats and having to learn about the needs of different departments quicker than you have time for, being organised is a must.

As I was going through my lists, I came across a video on the Huffington Post, What’s Working: Small Business site about creating and managing effective To-Do Lists that I found useful, and hopefully those of you in the same boat will too.


  • Writing down thoughts as soon as they come to mind. Doing this frees up mental space in your brain to concentrate on actually getting things done rather than trying to mentally remember everything you need to do.
  • Remembering to actually cross things off your list when you have completed the task. If anything the satisfaction of doing this is a reward in itself.
  • Calling your list ‘To Do Next’ then as you work your way through it keep moving the top three to a ‘To Do Now’ list and focusing on completing those within a set timeframe. I have been using this system for a while now and can see and mentally feel the difference, as my To Do List feels more manageable.
  • Be realistic about the number of tasks you put on your ‘To Do Now’ list that you can achieve in a day or your specified timeframe.

Do you find yourself replicating your To Do Lists, what are your tips for productively managing your list? Do share in the comments.

– Tapiwa

[Image credit: Tapiwa Matsinde]

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