To-do lists can be useful but they work best if you keep them short.
A long to-do list is closer to a shopping list and we tend to follow it in order.
That creates a few problems:
- The long list looks daunting, so it often gets ignored completely.
- Doing things in order means we don’t have any kind of priority so things get done that don’t really move us forward in our internet marketing business.
- We skip to the small tasks because we can do them and cross them off easily. But that means the large task stays there, looming up out of the list but never getting tackled
Different people cope with this in different ways and it’s best to experiment and find your own preferred method.
- Personally, I keep an untidy piece of paper near my computer and write down new things that need to happen on it, then scribble them out when I’ve done them. Small tasks get done in those spare minutes I’d otherwise be checking emails or Facebook
- I split the current big task into smaller, hopefully more manageable, chunks. On their own, they’re almost inconsequential. But they chip away at the edges of the bigger task. That includes writing close to daily emails and posts for my site. At the time of writing, I’ve got 410 posts on my main site. If I wrote all those in one batch, they’d be too close together in terms of topics, would bore me because that would be my sole focus for a month or two and wouldn’t tempt the search engines because there would be a burst of activity and then nothing. Drip fed, they’re manageable.
- A lot of people recommend working on the big current project first. There’s a lot of truth in that because it can be a scary thing – something you know you need to tackle but you convince yourself that you aren’t quite in the mood for it today but you’ll do extra work on it tomorrow. Of course, when tomorrow arrives you go through the same thought process and your big idea stays just that, an idea. Working on your big project first cuts out that procrastination and forces you to move forward with it.
Another thing you can do is simplify your list.
Simplifying works for lots of things in life and to-do lists are no exception.
Chances are, there are items that are on the list “just because”. Maybe to please other people, maybe to please yourself, maybe because you think you “ought” to do them even though you don’t like the idea involved.
Relegate those ideas.
Drop them from your to-do list – there’s a kind of refreshing wave that follows doing that, like lifting a weight off your shoulders.
If they come back, take a view. Look at them in the cold hard light of day and decide whether they really do belong on your list or if they’re just you dreaming.
That includes those things that everybody says you need to do:
- Long written content. If it really isn’t your style, adapt. Follow the tabloid news sites and put up lists with pictures or go for a video format or podcast.
- Videos. You can exist without making them and if you’re doing videos in a half-hearted fashion and only record a new one every frw months, ask yourself whether they should be part of your routine.
- Regular contact with your list. If that’s not your thing (and a lot of people I know hate writing daily or even weekly emails to their list) then choose a niche that doesn’t require you to build a list. Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to rely on emails, it can be driven by your website.
Of course, you can’t rule every single option out and still have a business.
But you can have a bias and you can reflect that in your to-do list.