The humble to-do list


Creatives are known for being, well….I’m trying to put this politely….easily distracted and disorganized. Squirrel! We know that running a business is an important part of what we do, but it just doesn’t get our creative juices going. It’s a chore.


Many of the places that we search for new clients are on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. That is all good. We can use our creativity to come up with ways to engage with new people easily, without having to resort to cold calling on the phone. Yes, I hate that too, and I know it can get some great results, but, but…I got nothing!


The problem with making connections on social media is that you are on social media. Within moments of looking for new clients, an interesting post can pop up that can take you down a rabbit hole and 30 minutes later you forgot what the hell you were doing in the first place. We’ve all done it. And yes, it is bloody frustrating!


And it’s not just social media. Writing blogs, sending out invoices, doing our taxes etc. These are all things that get in the way of being creative and having fun.

The only way I have found around this, is to create a humble to-do list. I know. It sounds overly simple, but I truly credit my to-do list with much of my success in gaining new clients. Studies have proven over and over again that if you consistently do the same thing every day for more than 30 days then it will start to become a habit. The problem is, doing it for 30 days is hard. Really bloody hard.


Using a notepad or white board for your list is good. For me though, it just didn’t work. I would “forget” to check the notepad. Yes, I really needed to use inverted commas. It wasn’t until I started using an app on my phone that I really started to get in a groove. My app of choice is called “productive”. It’s very simple and intuitive to use. You just create tasks, they can be daily tasks, weekly tasks or monthly. You can even set them for a certain time of day. Once you have them set, it will notify you everyday to complete that task and even gamifies a little by congratulating you on streaks that you go on. It’s surprising how disappointed you get when you break a streak, and this motivates you to stay on top of things even more.


My basic daily tasks are as follows:

Write morning journal

Take vitamins and medications. Yes, I have to remind myself to take my medication! Don’t judge me.

Post on LinkedIn

Touch 10 people related to my business

Meditate

My bi-daily tasks are:

Promote a client I have worked with on LinkedIn

Promote a voiceover colleague that is part of my circle on LinkedIn

My once weekly tasks:

Write my blog

Create a video post

Check my voiceover audition/jobs won stats

Ensure my invoicing is up to date

You can see that there is nothing overly complicated about this. But do you know what? It works. I have been using the app for over two years and it has really made a difference. These tasks are now habits. They are nearly automatic. And if I miss one due to being really busy, I get pissed off and double down on making sure I do it the next day.


And the app is just a suggestion. Many people work much better with a note pad or whiteboard. Whatever works for you. The point is that a very simple tool, such as a to-do list can make a HUGE impact on your productivity. Overlook it at your peril. And what do you have to lose? In fact, I dare you to prove me wrong. Start a to-do list, stick to it for 60 days and let me know that it didn’t work for you. I am not expecting my inbox to be full. And look at that, I just checked off “write my blog” from my to-do list. I’m on a new record streak!

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