Skedsheet Blog

Where we talk about the product, calendars, organization, and business

Infinite to-do list

with 2 comments

infinity by metropilot - http://www.flickr.com/photos/metropilotcom/2359848520/ I have a to-do list, and since I keep adding to my list faster than I can remove things, my list is infinitely long.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way, and it probably explains why things like “Getting Things Done”  are so popular. 

While having a really long to-do list isn’t inherently bad, it leads to a problem of not knowing what to focus on.  As a business owner, much of my time (and Ted’s, too) is spent doing the undefined, unpleasant, or unrewarding work.  But for me, a lot of this is self-inflicted by having a short attention span.

Was writing a buyer persona a waste of time, or did it it lead to a discussion and some ideas that might be valuable?  How about the time I’ve spent creating demo and help videos?  Writing a blog?  Volunteering to help out with a niche-industry professional organization?  The problem with all of these is that we never know the impact until much later. 

Several times, Ted and I have discussed features, support, marketing, or the company while going on a walk or having a beer – and had specific, useful tasks to go back to work with.  Maybe it means we should spend more time hiking and drinking beer.

So, how do I prioritize?  First, I try to rely on my gut feel.  My gut usually tells me to prioritize in the following way:

  1. Questions a customer is waiting for.
  2. Decisions that I strongly believe will have an impact on our business.
  3. Calls and visits to happy customers, and other things I enjoy.
  4. Questions or problems a co-worker needs me for.
  5. Everything else… aka 90% of my work.

But even with a rough idea of the priority, it’s still incredibly hard to answer,  “Which is more important?”

  • Testing a new release or coming up with new pricing?
  • Trying to find new lead sources or writing a help article?
  • Clarifying a commission plan or documenting board meeting notes?
  • …and the list goes on.

Comparing these totally unrelated items usually comes back to my gut.  Maybe I need to make a spreadsheet of all of the items, and list who cares, when I need to get it done, and how much time I expect to spend.

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Written by Harry Hollander

April 21, 2009 at 5:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

    mrred

    April 22, 2009 at 4:46 am

  2. So, I don’t keep a to-do list anymore, more like what needs to get done TODAY. Oftentimes, we spend a great part of our day putting out fires. Now, I’m learning to turn off the phone; single tasking and using my mornings to map out my day.

    I works for me and the point is you have to find what works best for you.

    That’s my two cents for today. . .Today, I’m off and just catching up on my reading.

    Audeliz Perez

    April 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm


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