It’s been a year since I’ve discussed my weekly to do list. So let’s talk about the importance of this document and how it helps me successfully run three Internet businesses.
An Example of My Weekly To Do List
Let’s start with an example. Below is a copy of my to-do list for last week (This post was written over a week ago, so even though this stuff is “in the past” to YOU, it’s actually the future to ME.)
(Both are the same document. Simply click the version the weekly to do list version you prefer.)
Why Most “To-Do Lists” Fail
Before we get into the “why” of this document, I’d like to talk about the single reason why most people fail with to-do lists.
The reason they don’t work is they’re structured around a single day.
It’s been my experience that it’s hard to know how much you can get done in a single 24-hour period.
Usually the day ends in disappointment because you weren’t able to cross off ALL the items.
To be honest, I don’t believe in a daily to-list.
I think it’s both a waste of time and mental energy. Instead I use a weekly to do list that’s flexible enough to fit into any busy work week.
Every Sunday, I’ll sit down and do a quick review of my business. I figure out what projects are most important. Then I determine how much time I’ll allocate to each.
In addition, I’ll include a number of personal items. This includes all those single-action chores, errands, and appointments I have for the week.
There’s a lot that goes into this weekly to do list. So let’s go over each item:
Personal Task Management
I believe in simplicity. That’s why I don’t like using a lot of tools to track what I do. So instead of separating personal from professional, I use the to-do list to track both.
If you look at this sheet, you’ll see how I include all my personal items at the top. These are the tasks I need to complete:
- Send in my jury duty form (Argh.)
- Install my wireless router
- Start a new ‘success habit’ for May
- Complete a few tasks relating to a possible upcoming marathon
What usually goes here are things my Dad likes to call NITs. These are the tasks/errands that can be completed with a single action.
Also, I include any dates that are important. In this case, I have a dinner with the family and my brother’s birthday. (Happy Birthday Gene!) I include these here to make sure I don’t miss any important date-specific event.
Professional Task Management
To get an understanding of this to-do list; you’ll need to refer to two blog posts:
1) Information Overload? YOUR Blueprint for Turning Information into Action: This post talks about how to synthesize a lot of information and create a plan of action.
2) The Art of Completing Internet Marketing Projects: This post details a step-by-step process for starting and completing any Internet-related project.
Read both articles because they form the basis of what goes on the to-do list.
Now…another thing you might notice is I’ve broken things down into projects. Specifically I have a numbered list of “tasks.”
So let’s talk about how these work in conjunction with a weekly to do list:
With my Internet business I like to work for 45 minute blocks of time and then take a few minute break. This is an arbitrary amount of time. There isn’t a real reason why I chose it. Really, it’s a personal preference.
Whenever I start a task, I initiate the timer app on my iPhone. This goes off whenever I complete a task. Then I cross it off my list, take a break, and then move on to the next. Throughout the week, I methodically go through this list; completing tasks and crossing them off the list.
So how much time do I dedicate to work each week? That really depends on what I have going on in my life. At the start of the week, I’ll look at upcoming personal obligations and then determine how much time I can spend on my business.
Typically I’ll complete about 50 tasks each week. If you do the math, that’s a little less than a 40-hour work week:
50 Tasks X 45 Minutes = 37.5 Hours
Again, there is no specific reason why I chose this number. It seems to be that happy medium between working hard while being able to enjoy life.
One important thing to note is this 37.5 hours of actual work. I’m not surfing the Internet or checking out Facebook during these breaks. Instead I’m singularly focused on the task and nothing else.
Okay…if you take another look at the to-do list, you’ll see that I’ve broken down the tasks into blocks that correspond to a particular project.
In the case of this week’s to-do list, here’s how I’ve blocked out my time:
- 3 Weekly Tasks
- 2 Monthly Tasks
- 15 Steve Scott Site (SSS) Content Creation Tasks
- 10 “Affiliate Marketing without the B.S.” Tasks
- 5 SSS Improvement Tasks
- 15 Affiliate Marketing Income Tasks
You might be a little confused about what all this means. So let’s go over each:
How to Manage Multiple Projects with a To-Do List
As we’ve discussed, I use a project-centric approach with my Internet business. In addition to my to-do list; I maintain a list of the tasks for each of my projects. (Again this is something I detail here.) On this sheet is a list of tasks broken down into two distinct categories:
1) Routine Activities which are the tasks you do on a regular basis
2) Growth Activities which are the tasks that produce future income
During the week, I first make sure I complete the routine activities. Only then will I move on to the tasks that help grow my business. That way, I know I’ve completed the important things in case something unforeseeable happens.
It’s important to identify what’s routine and what’s growth. For example here are the activities I do for each project on this list:
1) Routine: Create tools for affiliates, answer customer emails, answer Steve Scot Site emails, and comment on blogs
2) Growth: Contact people in my niche to build a mutually beneficial relationship
(This is only done on a monthly basis on the first day. Normally this time would be allocated to another project.)
1) Routine: Track monthly earnings, track traffic stats and conversion, register domains, and do a master back-up of my business.
2) Growth: No growth activities for this task.
Steve Scott Site Content Creation Tasks
1) Routine: Write blog posts
2) Growth: Upload YouTube videos, write a guest blog post, and add an email to my autoresponder sequence. (I’ve really been slacking on ALL these tasks.)
“Affiliate Marketing without the Bulls**t” Tasks
(This entire project is based on future income. But I still like to separate it into two activities.)
1) Routine: Write the eBook
2) Growth: Outsource image creation, write the sales page, and plan the product launch
Steve Scott Site Improvement Tasks
1) Routine: Tweak processes on the blog, and run site-improvement tests
2) Growth: Enhance the user experience. (I purposefully left this vague because there is a lot of stuff I’m testing on this site.)
Affiliate Income Tasks
1) Routine: Upload videos to YouTube, re-optimize web pages, create backlinks to high-traffic articles, and manage outsource workers
2) Growth: Add emails to auotresponder sequences and create new lead magnets
Final Thoughts on Making a Weekly To Do List
There is a lot of planning that goes into a weekly to do list. It’s what helps me manage all the projects I have going on at the same time. That’s why I recommend you review this sample document and apply it to your Internet business.
One of the keys to time management is to dictate exactly how you work on a project. Writing a daily list of tasks is SOOOO 2010. If you want results with your Internet business; NOW is the time to use single document to manage the entire process. Use this weekly to do list and you’ll discover it’s easy to get a lot done in a limited amount of time.Take Action. Get Results.