Like many small business owners, you probably wish you had more hours in the day.

The more you do, the less you seem to accomplish. That’s because being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being productive. 

Productivity tips abound on the internet but there’s still one simple way to get more done – the humble to-do list. 

Three reasons why you need a to-do list

When used properly, a to-do list can help you and your team stay on top of things. Here’s how. 

1. Helps you plan ahead

Set a to-do list that includes tasks for the day, the week, and the month. This helps you plan ahead and schedule enough time to complete projects. It also allows you to shift low-priority tasks to another day should a high-priority task appear.  

2. Prevents forgetfulness

When running a small business, there’s a lot to keep track of. No matter how good you think your memory is, some things will fall through the gaps. Forgetting tasks can result in a scramble to pull things together at the last minute. Having it on your list means there’s a backup to remind you. 

3. Keeps your team focused

A to-do list is something everyone in your team should be using. If you have a small office, it can be useful to place a whiteboard in a central location and update tasks on a daily or weekly basis. With clearly defined goals in front of them, your team will become more productive.

The disadvantage of a to-do list

One common mistake people make with to-do lists is being over-ambitious. 

Setting a list a mile long will leave you feeling overwhelmed – and when you don’t finish everything on it, you’ll be more stressed at the end of your day than at the start. 

Be realistic about how much you can tackle in a day, taking into consideration other demands of your day. 

Finding a few minutes in your day to write a to-do list may be a challenge in itself. However, it can make a big difference in how efficiently you use your time. 

Take some time at the end of each day to plan your tasks so that you can hit the road running the next morning.