Remember the Milk, Doomi, Chains.cc, these are all great tools for keeping track of your tasks but nothing quite beats the good ol’ pencil and paper.

The act of physically writing your to-do commits the tasks to memory much like note taking during your school days. Likewise, it forces the tasks in your face to give yourself a constant reminder of what needs to be done rather than the need to boot a program/app that’s easy to forget.

The following will share how to use these simple to-do list systems to make the most from your day, achieve great goals in your business, and spark all-important bouts of motivation.

Know what you want to do

Steve Scott, of SteveScottSite.com, has introduced me to a topic called the most wanted response.

The concept of the MVR is that there is just one achievement you wish to unlock from taking a certain action, working on a project, or while conducting a campaign.

For example:

  • The MVR of sending a sales email would be to make a sale.
  • The MVR of your social account is to spark discussions and sharing.
  • The MVR of holding a contest could be to gain market exposure for the brand.

To-do lists greatly benefit if you have this most wanted response with each and every task; it allows you to “weed out” the activities which may seem wasteful in place of those that will have significant benefits for your business.

Again, with an example:

  • Task #1: Write a new blog post
  • Task #2: Spend 1 hour building links
  • Task #3: Email potential customers for feedback

Each of the example items have some form of MVR whether it’s to gain search engine traffic through posting, higher ranking with links, or learning about your business through feedback.

Your business will have similar goals: sales, exposure, branding, and more.

Do this:

1. Spend a day (or entire week) to record each of your business actions to the finest detail whether it’s updating your website to sending out emails.
2. Divide and categorize each of these actions into separate, relate-able groups.
3. Write down what the most wanted response are for each of the categories.

You will discover which set of actions produces a great return on investment and others that are time wasters – it’s from here that you can create effective to-do lists.

To-do lists in action

As someone who’s constantly bouncing around, managing projects, websites, and freelancing – I can attest that a physical to-do list is the most powerful … and it doesn’t need to be complicated.

Personally, these are the two most effective:

  • A daily activity sheet
  • A handful of Post-It notes

I keep a small binder for my business ideas and projects. The very beginning of this binder contains my weekly (and daily) to-do list which also shares my ideas and goals.

This binder is something you can easily create for about $1 though you may want to sport a few extra bucks to purchase a professional one (which helps you avoid forgetting about it since you’ve made an actual investment).

The second is one for those that find themselves easily distracted.

An individual Post-It note for your main tasks, lined along the bottom of your computer monitor or on the wall, will allow you to “check off” each task as it is completed by simply removing it from the queue.

It may sound silly but seeing your tasks and goals physical “checked” as they are completed can drive your productivity and motivation because you’re one step closer to completing your list for the day.

Keep it to five

One final tip worth mentioning is that it’s important to limit the amount of items on your to-do list.

Yes, you may have a lot on your plate but there’s no reason to fill out an entire page if you know it’s not possible to achieve.

I recommend you list just five tasks on the list.

The list should have a collection of easy, medium, and hard tasks to complete (with the hardest at the top – the one which should be completed first).

Likewise, the tasks should have categories of MVR, as well. You should consider always including a task for building your brand, making a sale, communicating with your network, personal improvement, and new project/research development.

This kaleidoscope of outcomes will allow you to grow in all directions while holding a structured, motivating to-do list.

Conclusion

A simple to-do list is most effective because it doesn’t overcomplicate the tasks at hand. Combine with the concept of most wanted response and categorization – you will find yourself knocking down large chunks of your tasks throughout the day which means your goals (and growth) will be continually met.

What tips do you have for doing daily tasks, to-do lists, and accomplishing goals?