October 26th, 2023

As a busy business owner with a lot of responsibilities your to-do list is your lifeline to getting things done. You likely have a running list of all the things you have to do on any given day or week, both professionally and in your personal life. And that list can be housed either digitally or in a notebook. But no matter how you put together your to-do list, most business owners are going about the to-do list all wrong. So today, I wanted to discuss the best way to structure your to-do list and review some of the ways that you might be doing it incorrectly.

It’s All About Priorities  

For most people, a to-do list is simply a long list of all the things that they must do on any given day. And on that to-do list, there’s so much stuff that it actually takes up multiple pages. And this to-do list is essentially never ending because there is always more that you can add to the list.  But realistically, your list is way too long and there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. What you should be focusing on is your priorities. You should have a short one-page report on your goals for the quarter, and your to-do list should be pulled directly from that list. Only put it on the to-list if it helps support your overall goals and plans for the quarter or year. You want to think about what are the one or two things that are going to create the most value this week. And then put those things on the list. If it doesn’t support your goals, it should be outsourced, delegated or taken off the list altogether. Now, does someone have to take the trash out and take the deposits to the bank? Of course. Should it be you? No.

It’s About Self-Management

Setting up your to-do lists to only include things that create value for your business is one of the best ways to get better at self-management. It allows you to have a laser focus on the most important items on your list, and helps you hold yourself accountable to getting those things completed and across the finish line. It limits the number of distractions in your day, and frees you up to think about the big picture and how to best grow your business. And you want to encourage your leadership team and staff to adopt similar practices with their day-to-day task lists. The practice will allow them to prioritize their own time and begin to see where they create value in the business, which will help accelerate your growth company-wide.


Your to-do list is important, but only if put together correctly. If done in an intentional way it can be a really powerful tool to help you focus on your priorities and learn to self-manage your time. An added bonus is that for the majority of business owners, using their to-do list in this manner actually frees up more time so that you could spend more time with your family, devote to hobbies or fitness endeavors. So it is a win-win for all involved.