As a self-professed systems and organization geek, I’m often told how ‘together’ I am.
Even in my corporate days, when I had dozens of products in various stages of the development cycle, coworkers would often tell me how calm I appeared amidst the chaos.
Today, fellow entrepreneurs frequently ask me how I manage to keep tasks and projects humming along within my own business, as well as multiple client businesses.
I’m a huge proponent of learning and feel you never truly stop, and not just from industry leaders or big brands, but from others in my space as well. And because you’ve found your way here, I’m guessing you like to learn from fellow business owners too.
Today I’m sharing my exact method for maintaining a productive to-do list and hitting due dates and project targets with ease.
Appointments = Google Calendar
This is the easiest part because much is automatically done for me.
All appointments, whether in-person meetings, virtual coffee dates, lunch with a friend or a doctor visit, are kept in my Google calendar. It’s the one place to manage the times where I need to be in a certain place at a certain time, whether that is a local Starbucks or a client’s Zoom meeting room.
Most of my appointments are scheduled through Acuity, which is synced up with my Google calendar. Each time a new appointment is scheduled, it’s automatically added to my calendar within seconds. And if, on the fly, I need to block out my Acuity scheduler on a particular day, I can do that directly from my calendar (without logging into my scheduling software).
I’ve even shared my calendar with my husband, so that he can see my schedule too. This avoids him ringing or texting while I’m on a consult call. Although he doesn’t expect me to pick up during those instances, he knows it’s one less interruption for me to see (yep, he’s super supportive even in those smaller ways).
Tasks + Projects = Asana
You know I love Asana! It’s my go-to piece of tech to store all tasks, projects, ideas and keep everything on schedule in my business.
This is also the place where I get very detailed in my to-do’s. Instead of listing “follow-up with Traci post-consult”, I add notes of what we talked about and assign the exact date I plan to follow-up with her. All the pieces needed to complete a to-do item are kept in one convenient corner of the world.
I also use this software with my clients. I can seamlessly toggle between each private business workspace. Within a minute or two, I can do a quick scan of what is on the horizon over the next few days in each client’s business.
Daily To Do’s = Apple Notes
And yes, I love Apple Notes as well! This is where I store my daily to-do list. It’s my quick and dirty way to see what needs to get done on any given day. As I type now, I have writing this very post at the top of the list.
After I do the workspace scan in Asana that I mentioned above, I add all of the ‘today’ tasks to my daily to-do list. I even color code each task. And to further declare myself a geek, each color matches the client’s branding or my company’s branding.
As tasks are completed throughout the day, I delete them from the list.
And because my Apple Notes app is synced across all my devices, I can add to it on the go as well. There have been times where I’m lying in bed at night and remember something I really want to get accomplished the next day, like grabbing that book to loan to a friend I’m meeting for lunch the next day. I’ll pop the item on my to-do list using my phone and know I’ll get it done the following day, all without having to open my computer again.
My three-prong approach is what keeps multiple businesses successfully moving forward, taking on new and challenging projects, and putting thoughtful, impactful work into the world.
Please know though that this is my exact method. It may work for you, or it may not, or maybe only one part is a good fit for you.
The most important thing is to use a to-do system that works for you.
I know of people who successfully use their calendar to manage their to-do list.
Others keep everything in a single Word Doc and delete tasks as each is completed.
While still, many highly praise Evernote and Trello to stay organized and on task.
If paper is your thing, go with it. Don’t think you need to be digital to stay ahead. (Can I share a secret with you? I still keep a paper calendar too. But I don’t rely on it as heavily as the above tools.)
How do you keep track of and work through your daily to-dos? Tell me your system in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!