Time Management: How To Get More Done Using Lists

Image of Pen Making List

Lists are a beautiful thing.  They work for writers via list posts (such as 7 Reasons Your Online Business Needs WordPress), everyday folks with their groceries, and even weekend chores get their own to do list.

What about your online business and intentions for 2011; would a list help?  Keeping a list of action items to conquer on a weekly (or daily) basis may be just what you need to keep you on track and ratchet up your productivity.

List Now, Browse Later

Time is precious and these days there are plenty of distractions jockeying for top priority.  But your online business start up is yearning for growth so to help focus your mind here’s what you do.

Before you sit at your keyboard, decide what you’re going to accomplish.  This approach takes me all of 5 minutes to put it down on paper in “grocery list” form.

(However, I may convert from paper and pen to the online tool at RememberTheMilk.com; a great recommendation courtesy of my friend Sarah at Common Sense Marketing (thanks!).  But feel free to beat me to it, folks, and let me know if you do.)

Be sure that the only windows you open in your browser are to accomplish a goal on your list.  Need to write that article?  Open Notepad or MS Word, not Internet Explorer, and start writing!

Been neglecting your email subscriber list or Facebook fans?  Then zap out a content-rich email to your subscribers and then go add value to your Facebook community.  The key here is to focus on what you wrote down that will help your business; building relationships and writing content count. Watching mind-numbing videos or reading celebrity blogs does not count.

Here’s why you should be making more online to-do lists in 2011:

  • They cut down casual-surfing tendencies
  • Force you to target high-priority tasks
  • Ensure at least 80% of your time is focused on the 20% of tasks that will most benefit your business
  • Lists boost discipline
  • Give you metrics to evaluate your progress

…make sense to you now?

Make Your List Today

OK, so I’m a bit biased but first on your list should be signing up for my free updates.  That way, these nifty time management and business growth articles make it straight to your Inbox as they’re published.

After that just get out a piece of paper, grab your best pen, and turn off your monitor.  Start small by numbering your sheet 1-through-3 and write down the top 3 actions you should be taking to grow your online business today.

Brave enough to share your top 3 below?

Photo: qisur

8 Responses to Time Management: How To Get More Done Using Lists
  1. [...] Did they become masters of time management? [...]

  2. Sarah Russell
    January 22, 2011 | 10:30 am

    I love lists :) There’s something about sitting down and actually committing pen to paper that makes a task seem much more doable. Crossing things off the list is pretty fun too!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jon
      January 30, 2011 | 7:58 pm

      Pen to paper makes it “stickier” I say. Ha, and yes crossing items off is like a pat on the back.

  3. [...] to carve out 20 or 30 minutes from our busy days to exercise to become fit and feel better about [...]

  4. [...] probably wondering why I didn’t name my site something SEO-friendly.  Well, I did make a list and agonize over many options but I just felt that my own name was the best fit for this [...]

  5. Where Are You Today? | jonalford.com
    February 16, 2011 | 9:07 am

    [...] you’re squandering time and effort doing “busy work” or are you focusing on high-priority tasks but going [seemingly] [...]

  6. Timo Kiander
    March 20, 2011 | 2:20 pm


    Having a list makes you see something else: what are the recurring tasks that could be outsourced.

    I can recognize that on my list I have same tasks occurring on frequent basis. I have realized that these tasks are ideal candidates for a VA.

    Less there is routine stuff on your list that takes your time (and which could be outsourced), the more you can actually focus on the 20% stuff that makes all the difference and which improves your business :)

    • Jon
      March 20, 2011 | 3:09 pm

      Hi Timo,

      Thanks for taking a look at some earlier work of mine. I really like that observation: lists show us what is recurring and could be outsourced. We are all best off focusing on the 20% that moves our businesses forward; unfortunately, most of the time we get mired in the day-to-day stuff that drains our energy and prevents us from practicing our craft!

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