Sometime you have to reinvent the wheel. I find myself constantly tweaking my wheels. Re-purposing ideas, looking for the one way that works best for me. A way that give my thoughts, musing and written word, structure. This process led me to recycle one of the most used tools to-date. By necessity, this tool -the to do list, should be simple and not a pain to use. Therefore this led me to continually recycling to-do lists.
At the beginning of 2014 I was wrestling with how I kept up with my goals and my blogs. Looking for an easy way to keep on track, finish projects and goals in a timely manner.
Write On, Write Often
Previously I had used a beautiful wire bound journal to write my thoughts, goals, ideas and accomplishments for the year.
After 3 years, it was a mess. I could not find anything because of lack of organization. Where was my goal, did I mentioned it again, did I review it, Had it been achieved, etc?
Frustrated, I tried Google documents, creating a chronological master list. Pleased with myself, I thought my problem had been solved. Not yet. Parts of it were bugging me. Notes were scattered through out the written journal. It was a nightmare.
With goals from all areas of my life all jumbled together, there was no cohesion.
About the same time, I started using Penzu (af), an online journal for writing. Using Penzu to improve my writing skills with daily writing prompts was a goal I wanted to work on. I had read, to be an expert at something you had to have 10,000 hours.
Gulp! I have written approx 40 blog posts & pages for my website, 15 toastmaster topics and I have done approx 15 other articles & blogs elsewhere. With plenty of writing hours left, it would be awhile before I achieve my goal. Using Penzu has proved to make this goal an easy habit.
Back to Google Doc
I preferred Google doc for my other writings -i.e. my blog drafts, scripts, lists, etc. In particular recycling to-do lists for creating effective business goals & plans.
After finishing up my annual goals review for 2014, it became apparent that Google documents was not working for my goals. Because I was actively using my Penzu journal (af) for that other project, I decided to set up my 6 goal setting topics.
Business, Health, Spiritual, Finance, Dreams, Personal
Which prompted the move my goal journaling out of Google doc and into Penzu. Suddenly the picture became crystal clear. Each journal page would cover a goal topic. From there it was a breeze. The results are, a cleaner journal to work from.
Since the 4th quarter of 2014, writing everyday either for daily prompts and other writing task, I am writing more than I have ever in my life. Which leads me to consider, the myriad items I keep up with.
My goal has been to be successful.
- with a loving family and healthy relationships
- with my health and personal life
- as a business women and business owner
As much as I want to be successful, my life must be balanced. no one at the door to Heaven says, I should have spent more time working.
Nonetheless, I enjoy.. no Love what I do, therefore being successful is meaningful to me. And I am continually looking to improve myself and keep focused. List, especially re-purposing list have helped me stay on track.
Recycling To-do lists
- To-do list – I am still trying to find the best place for this. It seems to be missing essential elements. It should incorporate with my other systems – for example, my calendar (Google calendar), my CRM system –OnePageCRM (af). It should have the ability to create several different types of To Do list. In the past, I used Google documents and Google Tasks. Currently using a combination of sticky notes & Trello.
- Finish list – I recently started, writing my successes for the week. Journaling in Penzu.
- Quick jot downs – ideas that are immediate. Using the sticky notes on desktop
- Strategy/Action plan for that week – a more focused, thought out processes for the week. Recently read about this and my intention is to incorporate it.
- Next Week/Month – to do list for items that are a week or more out. Used Google doc in the past, recently moved to Trello.
- Brainstorm Blog Topics – 10 -30 minutes session to create topics for my blog. Creative session is written in Google Doc. Storing a topic list on Trello.
- CRM system – it is critical to know what your next action with a client is. A valuable CRM system should keep you up-to-date. OnePageCRM has revolutionized my customer relationship management. And it is Ultimately, the Important List -the list of your customers.
- Journaling – my thoughts of the day. Using Penzu.
- Daily Writing exercise – a more focused writing exercise. Using Penzu.
- Goals – my short and long term goals & reviews. Just moved from hardbound, to Google documents to Penzu.
- Task list – broken down by topic. i.e. my website task. Using Google doc.
- Scripts – for networking, repeat social media messages. Using Google doc.
- Writing and editing of my blogs – Google documents. Using Google doc.
- Templates – email, social media inbox – conversation that repeat. Using Google doc.
- Check outs – products, affiliates, other blogs I want to check out in future. Using Google doc.
- Problems – what I am having problems with; what I am doing about it; whom I am talking to
- and the lists go on….
You might be thinking, ?What? How are you getting any business done?
Whew, I look at that list and ask myself that. Understand these have been created over the 5 year period that I have been building & growing my current business, CustomGrowthGroup.
What does writing my thoughts down do for me? When I use Lists as a tool, this helps me to
- be more focused
- determine my next step
- see a comprehensive view
- not repeat myself
- have reference points
- be creative
Overall, this helps me to determine what my next actions are. Whether it is my next follow up action with a client or a task.
Great example of how this works:
I meet people all the time. People contact me all the time. As a society communicating goes on all the time, whether via phone, social media, email or other sources.
Let’s face it, we say pretty much the same conversation every time. Instead of writing those same greetings, salutations, follow up conversations, product conversations.. every time, start out with a template. Finish it up with your message, specific conversations to add that personal touch.
Adding a personal touch holds far-reaching promise. Because it is not what you do or say, but how you make them feel. We work with our clients to incorporate appreciation marketing into their follow up strategies. Find out how that might work, by signing up for your complimentary consult.
Business is about having effective systems. The hallmark of an effective system is -simple to use or simple enough to turn into a habit. Lists give me a simple way of getting that next action or task done. I’ve even had list help me to create a new habit. Explore for yourself what Lists can help you accomplish. Just remember Rome was not built in a day, or a week, or a month, or not even a year.
How do you keep on track, either in business or your personal life?
Until next time.
Take Time to Live a Life that Inspires You.