In the past, I’ve talked about managing activities rather than time. The point being that we all have the same time in a day and there’s not a lot we can do to change time, unfortunately. Instead, it’s how we choose to spend that time—how we prioritize our activities—that make a difference.

I got a lot of positive feedback on that blog, and a few of you wrote back asking what system I use to manage my own activities. While it’s not magic, it is pretty straightforward and has made a big difference in the amount I get done each day, as well as in the success of my business.

Are you ready for the reveal?

A checklist.

Yep, that’s it.

My father was a firm believer in checklists and always had one sitting on his desk. Nothing fancy, just a simple, hand-written list that would spell out what he had to accomplish for the day. And he always accomplished a lot, every day.

So when my business coach (yes, even a coach like me has to have a coach) pitched me this simple idea, I figured I would give it a try. Here’s how my version of the checklist looks:

I began by writing out the tasks I feel are most important to do each week, and which will move my business forward consistently. I know it doesn’t look like much, and I’m sure my chicken scratch makes it hard to read, but you get the idea.

Notice that there are specific tasks that I’m not good at completing. As time goes on, I will start to implement those tasks or modify the list to fit what I need to accomplish by, for example, breaking up these tasks into smaller bits. You’ll also notice that exercise is a “non-negotiable” and has been given a block since it is essential for me. 🙂

Now, this list doesn’t represent everything I do, of course. It is a task list, not a responsibility list. So in addition to everything you see here, I also train clients, teach class, develop and hold staff training, design programs, and a few dozen other things I’m forgetting right now.

There are two things that have made the checklist work for me.

First, it is with me 24/7 and has become my “anchor.”

Second, I have come to accept the fact that the ‘checklist’ is not my bible. It evolves. It grows. It gets thrown away. It gets re-written. And, along the way, it gets better at helping me adjust to the crazy world in which we all live.

That’s why my checklist has made all the difference in the world to me. Do you us a “to do” list or daily checklist? If so, send me yours. I could always use more ideas.

–Coach Brad

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