Beware of the To Do List … Priority Lists are Superior

balancing1Imagine the productivity power of having a Priority List instead of a To-Do list?  Your time, energy, and effort would be laser focused on the right actions every time.  You would see results faster and enjoy the benefits of consistent success in your business. Here’s how to easily make the switch.

Many people approach their to-do list like their grocery list.  Something comes to mind and they write it down on paper. When they get to the store, they work though the list, often top to bottom, adding items to the shopping cart. Often this means backtracking through aisles multiple times because the list didn’t match the store layout which isn’t a very productive use of time.

A to-do list has the same flaw. Many people work the to-do list top to bottom. Complete item #1, check.  Complete item #2, check.  The problem is, this sequential method makes us busy, but not necessary productive.  There’s no guarantee that completing items move us closer to our goals. Everything on the to-do list is given the same value in importance without any differentiation.

The superior method is to create a Priority List – the list of exact actions that propel your business forward in the right order.  It starts with a to-do list, but gets even better.

Here are the steps to make a Priority List yourself:

First, establish Scoring Criteria – this criteria will be used to assess every item on your list. It’s best to keep the criteria to no more than 3 simple questions that generate yes or no answers.  Here is my criteria (feel free to mirror this or create your own):

  • Will doing this action generate business revenue?
  • Will doing this action reduce my business costs?
  • Will doing this action lead to automation or a repeatable system that saves my business time?

Second, create a To-Do List for your Business – write down all of the actions that you believe need to get done.

Third, award a Tally Mark on every Action that Meets the Criteria – determine which items meet the criteria you established and give them a slash mark. An item can earn multiple marks if it has more than one benefit.  For example, an action can create a repeatable system AND reduce your business cost. That item gets two tally marks.

Finally, do the Work with the Most Tally Marks First – your To-Do List just became your Priority List. The actions are now prioritized in the most effective sequence for you.  Complete the actions in descending order starting with the actions with the most tally marks through the least.  Items with no marks should either be skipped altogether or delegated to someone else as these do not meet your criteria.

It’s that simple

Take just 5 minutes to do this exercise every day and you will see an immediate jump in your productivity and profits.  If you loved this productivity technique, there’s more.  Enter your name in the big red box at the top of the page to download a complimentary audio module from my Productivity Accelerator Success System.  In just 20 minutes, learn actionable ideas you can immediately implement so there’s less overwhelm and more ease in your business.

Want even more?  Get started with Gain Biz Advantage – the all inclusive coaching program with digital training, The Big Advantage Workbook, and group coaching calls with me.  It’s the high powered, yet affordable solution to quickly get results in your business.

Please share this post with your community so others can be more productive and profitable.  Also, I’d love to hear your comments on successful ways you prioritize in your own company.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.