Prioritizing Your To Do List: 9 Entrepreneurs Share Their Systems
Do you have a business To Do list that’s about 10 miles long? Do you keep adding awesome project ideas to the list? Do you take action on those projects or get stuck trying to decide which project to do first?
Which Project Should You Do First?
How do you decide which projects to do first? How do you prioritize when it feels like re-branding, talking to potential clients, making videos, starting a podcast, writing a book, developing online courses, etc., etc., are all equally important and all need to be done right now for your business to succeed?
Sometimes the answer is crystal clear and you can move forward without a backward glance. But when there’s no clear answer to “What should I do first?” it’s easy to get stuck circling around that question and lose momentum and motivation.
How Does Everyone Else Do It?
I’m always interested in seeing how other entrepreneurs make these kinds of decisions. I believe there’s a lot to learn from behind-the-scenes looks at how others manage their projects and businesses.
If you’ve found yourself paralyzed by the idea of how to choose one project to start with, take inspiration from these ladies and keep your business and projects moving forward.
What’s needed now energetically? What am I ready to give? What does the world need? And, what would best support us to thrive?
That usually gives me my answer, it’s inside me already.
Grace is an award winning international wellness expert, writer, and speaker you can find her online here.
I have the easiest decision making process ever when it comes to what projects I do next.
I have a dance party in my minivan to my theme song and if I feel good about it after I dance it out I do it.
I dance a whole lot nowadays.
You can find Kimberly helping women build their own mini van empires at The 365 Project.
It’s definitely a combination of things:
On the one hand, any project needs to feel deeply aligned with who I am and what I’m ultimately trying to achieve with my business. On the other hand, it has to be something that fires me up, otherwise I’ll never see it through.
Money definitely factors in, but a lack of cash only slows things up for me – it doesn’t put the kibosh on a project completely.
I might ask friends and fellow entrepreneurs for advice, but the most important thing is that it feels good to me and will help me build momentum in my business.
Nikki is an ink slinger + digital scribe. You can find her online here.
I have a vision map of where I want to be in three years. It’s a simple one pager.
Firstly, I look at that and see if the project/task will help me move towards my goal/s. Then, I decided if I want or need to do that task, or is it something I can outsource.
Then, finally I work out if it “feels right.” That usually gives me enough clarity to decide on how important it is.
Clare helps us remember and celebrate special days over at The Virtual Nudge.
I do a big brain dump on paper because I love picking up a paper and pen.
Next I write down on a big whiteboard 90 day calendar all of the events, launches and time frames. Then I go through the list and categorize them in list of priority and based on time frame.
Lastly, I plug in small bite sized chucks in my planner in a easy to accomplish time frame leading up to the main events. I have been known to place more on my to do list than is humanly possible to complete but I try to keep it to 3 main accomplishments each day!
This process helps me to see the big picture and also break things down in to doable action steps on a daily basis.
Chantelle is a courage coach. You can find her online here.
Once I have my overall vision or goal (quarterly or a 6-month-horizon thing), then that’s the measuring stick I use to evaluate all the project ideas. “Does it get me closer to my end-goal?”
Not: is it cool, is it on sale, is something I always wanted to do, is it what everyone’s talking about. I *absolutely* get the appeal. I’m wooed by those qualities too! But remember your mission is to drain the swamp, not chase alligators.
With a short enough time-horizon on your goals (quarterly or half-year), there’s plenty of time to rethink the wisdom and viability of them, and readjust where you’re headed. But no fair picking projects that don’t gain you yardage towards where you’ve said you already want to be.
Karen helps entrepreneurs create courses over at The Sunny Patio Project.
You have to go with what you are most excited about right now or you won’t have the momentum to finish it.
Strike while the iron is hot and push ahead. Set a crazy deadline that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone and tell your coach/support system about it to hold you accountable and get it done!
Pick the one that you are so excited about YOU just can’t stand it!!!
Fon is The Emergency Business Coach. You can find her online here.
I have a mission statement, so I just make sure whatever projects I’m planning are going to accomplish my mission, if they’re not then I ditch them.
Sometimes I catch myself veering off the mission statement and I have to refresh and realign. Usually that happens when a really charismatic person wants to work with me and it seems like a “hell yeah.” But then when I have a moment alone to evaluate, and realize it’s not a beneficial project, then I would talk to the person about possibly making some changes so it’s a win/win/win.
Diana creates and sells apps. You can find her online here.
1. I start with the things that will take the longest to complete ASAP, things like writing a book, or creating a new course or program, building relationships. The way I do this is by setting aside a couple of hours per day for these and I do them first thing in the day.
2. Then I take care of the things that either bring in the most profit right now or that could potentially be the most profitable short term.
3. I take care of the “urgent and important stuff.”
Tatiana is a business consultant and life coaching for entrepreneurs. You can find her online here.
Thanks Grace, Diana, Fon, Nikki, Tatiana, Kimberly, Clare, Chantelle, and Karen for sharing your systems!
What’s your process for deciding which projects get priority in your business? Do you trust your gut, brainstorm, talk to your coach, follow the money? Share in the comments!
A great read! I think we all feel that successful people have secret systems we’ll never learn, but the clue is to find out what works best for you, no matter what the experts might give us of advice. My systems could be more refined, at the moment it’s having a focus on what will close the gap to my current dream (publish a book). To get there I have created forms where I cross out every day I work on my dream projects. The goal is to do that every day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
Congrats on moving toward your book dream Christine! Sounds like you have a great system in place and you’re so right, having a system that works for you is key!
I EAT THE FROG! I may be a bit eccentric, well not a bit but a lot but I have a HUGE frog tattooed on my back because for me it is a symbol of abundance and transformation. When I heard Brian Tracy’s book EAT THE FROG, I got that tackling the “big” projects first is what is going to set me on the road to success. Thank you for these other beautiful minds sharing their awarenesses. I have ingested much! *burp
Love that Minista! Here’s to lots of frog eating!
I love this! I really noticed how there was a common theme through a lot of them where they assessed whether the projects were really in line with what their main goals are. That is something of huge importance that can help to keep us on track in our careers and in our lives!
Thanks for commenting Cathy! Yes, I think that alignment piece is key. And it’s something we have to revisit with every project we tack onto our To Do lists!
I use a vision map and monthly calendar too to map out my goals, but never thought about tying it directly to my daily to do list!! Really love the idea of ensuring that it aligns with what I’m moving towards.
However, when it comes to my day to day tasks, I generally prioritize either the most important things first or the ones I hate doing the most. I figure if I do the things that I hate (but have to do ) early enough in the day, it leaves more room to do the things I love later. I’m usually up early so this helps build my momentum for the rest of the day!
Thanks for commenting Jennifer. I love vision maps. They are so helpful in getting all the stuff in our heads out and for seeing how it all connects. Things have to connect for me!
But I’m not so good at doing the things I hate first. Maybe I’ll give that a try, starting with doing my taxes this weekend, first!
I loved reading this! And cool to see some familiar faces/names in there! It’s gotta feel good and be taking you towards the goal and not veering you off course 🙂 Everyone does things differently I guess depending on your personality. I love my journal and have everything in there- vision board, goal planning – short medium and long, gratitude, accomplishments, wheel of life the lot 🙂
I love this post! It is so fun to read about all the different processes people use. I’m excited to have a few new things to try! Thank you!