Picture an organized person. What comes to mind? Someone with a file folder full of dated, labeled, and alphabetically organized papers? Someone who has color-coordinated baskets for every item they own? Someone who doesn’t lose important paperwork and keeps a tidy office?
We all have our own definition of what it means to be organized. Entrepreneurs aren’t famous for organization, though they are well known for tenacity and hard work. Hard work is often the result of poor time management and organization skills – and a notable lack of list-making behavior.
Lists that help entrepreneurs get organized
As frustrating as it sounds, there are no shortcuts to better time management. Any plan that doesn’t involve making and using lists won’t create real changes. But starting off with lists is a hefty undertaking.
For people that don’t have the internal desire to plan and organize their schedule and to do list, it’s tough to take that first step. But when you know exactly what to include on your lists – and which types of lists net you the best benefits – it’s much easier to get started.
Dan Kennedy, business coach and author, wrote an article for Forbes where he described 4 types of lists he believes every entrepreneur needs to make and use, including the classic to-do list. These are the lists we’ll describe below.
4 Lists That Help Entrepreneurs Truly Organize Their Time
Making and using these 4 lists that help entrepreneurs truly organize their time could be the best decision you make for your business. Better organization means you get more free time and make less mistakes. Remember: Lists that help entrepreneurs get organized only help if the lists are consistently made and updated.
#1. To do list
You’ve probably dabbled with to do lists before. Maybe you stuck with it for a few days or weeks, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t “take.” Try a new approach to stick to it: Make it part of your evening routine.
In the mornings, things are hectic and we’re gearing up for another busy day. In the evenings, we’re calmer, have a sense of accomplishment from the day, and have a clear mind. This makes it a great time to work on your to do list.
Jot down things you’ll need to do and group them by day. Keeping a weekly to do list rather than just a daily one will help you stick to it. Dan recommends using A, B, and C to prioritize the items on your to do list, so if you can’t get to everything, you’ll at least take care of the top priorities.
#2. Daily schedule
Keep a daily schedule going if you really want to stay organized. Daily schedules are taken from your to do list, and the only difference is that you’ll use specific time frames to schedule your time.
Take today’s items from your to do list and fit the highest priorities into the most coveted time spots in your day. Sprinkle the Bs and Cs from your to do list anywhere they’ll fit. You’ll love the sense of satisfying accomplishment when you get to check off each item as done.
#3. Calls to return
Make a daily list of calls to return. Just jot the caller’s information and a quick note about the nature of the call down in this list each time you receive a message or call that you’ll have to return later. Use the A, B, and C priority approach here if you have lots of calls to return so you don’t fail to return important calls.
This whole exercise is about saving you time and helping you become more organized. Many entrepreneurs find that by delegating outbound calls to a virtual receptionist, they can better focus on their priorities without ditching important administrative duties like this.
#4. Meeting planner
Most entrepreneurs have standing meetings and calls with specific people. You know that feeling when you get on the call you’ve been planning for and completely forget the important things you wanted to tell the other person? That becomes a thing of the past when you keep a meeting planner list.
Anytime you think of something you’ll want to tell the other person at your next meeting, just jot it down on the list under their name. You’ll have a better idea of what to discuss with them and can do a better job at scheduling those meetings as well.
Lists that help entrepreneurs stay organized have to be useful to encourage entrepreneurs to stick with them. If you try these 4 lists for a month and see the positive changes they bring about in your work and personal life, you won’t want to stop. For additional help managing your time as a business owner, view our virtual receptionist plans.