You can imagine how exciting it was to come home after quitting my job, knowing that I could spend more time working on my business.
That feels GREAT, doesn’t it?
No more 9-5, no more cubicle, no one to tell you what to do.
BUT, with that, comes the fear of being unproductive.
I needed to make my business work. I didn’t have a back up plan, and I didn’t have a back up savings either (don’t try that - it sucks).
So I did what everyone told me to do - create a to do list and get stuff DONE.
I’ve tried every single to do list app you can think off (see right). I built lists upon lists, I brain dumped, and I prioritized.
At first, it worked. I started with basic stuff that I thought I needed to get done. You know, get business cards, make a website, endlessly tweak my website to perfection...
But then the to do list start building and growing, while less and less got done.
To be honest with you, I got a lot of things done every day, but still didn’t feel productive.
I got SOME results, SOME clients. But it wasn’t consistent and it wasn’t fun.
I was overwhelmed and stressed 24/7 because my to do list wasn’t getting any shorter and I had barely any results to prove my hard work was paying off.
I felt overwhelmed and stressed all the time.
I was seriously going crazy and burning out.
Even when I got clear and focused, it would only last a few days and I would go back to being overwhelmed.
“Oh! Okay, so I need to build my list - I’ll focus on that”
But then I would get distracted with a new goal, with other tasks, with facebook - you name it.
Shiny-object syndrome is a thing - and I had it BAD.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is also a thing - and I fell for it.
Burn out - is what nearly ended my business.
I had to get a job to make some money to cover my expenses, and with that I realized something...
I burned out because I didn’t have a clear system.
So I created a clear system for myself and my business, quit that job within 3 months, and now I’ve more than doubled my productivity! (You can use RescueTime to track your productivity)
Having a clear system will help you:
- Know exactly what to do and when to do it
- Feel ease
- Have fun with your tasks
- Know that you’re getting stuff done
And you’ll see results because you'll:
- Feel productive, clear, and in flow
- Have the freedom to spend time outside your business and not worry that things aren’t moving forward
- Accomplish bigger and better goals
- Have trust in yourself to actually complete the goals and tasks you assign yourself
So here’s how I get stuff done in my business every day, WITHOUT getting myself into overwhelm, burn out, and working without getting results (you’ll need trello for this)
Before You Move On!
Grab this free PDF + Trello template to keep you on track.
Step One: Pick 3 - 5 TOP goals for your business
First get clear on what you want in general for your business and life.
So for me, I want to build a business where I can do what I love, work with people that inspire me, and have the freedom to live life however I want.
I already have consistent clients and income (I'll write more about that another time), so now I need to focus on creating passive income.
With that in mind, I came up with my four goals:
1 - Self-care. I always find a way to neglect this. If I want to live my life to the fullest, I need to be healthy, happy, and energized. So this is my number one priority above all else - even work and business
2 - Current clients. I'm clear on who I love to work with and now have clients who inspire me (while doing what I love to do) so I have to focus on them the most!
3 - Build my list to 10,000 Subscribers. I’ve neglected list building and have been working through word of mouth referral. If I want to create passive income, I’m going to have to build my audience first and give them great value. I only impact one person per phone call - with a list I can impact thousands per email.
4 - Clean Up Clutter & Move. I’m in the process of moving to a new state, and it’s a huge priority for me right now. It's pretty simple. Clean, pack, move. I’ll be taking this one off in about a month.
So now that I have my four goals - it’s time to set a boundary… only FOUR tasks at a time!!!
However many goals you have, that’s the amount of tasks you can do, have, and focus on at a time. You’ll see what I mean in a minute...
And if you haven’t already - sign up for Trello and get started on setting your goals! Here’s the board template.
Did you download the Trello template and checklist?
If not, grab it now so you know wtf I'm talking about.
Step Two: Brain Dump Your To Do’s
Open Trello, use my board template, and prepare to brain dump.
You’re going to write down all the tasks you need to do under “Ideas”. ALL of them. Just do a brain dump. Don’t categorize them yet.
Go and spend 15 minutes doing that right now. Here’s a simple timer on Google timer - put it at 15 minutes and don’t stop until it rings.
We’ll wait for you while you work on that...
Okay, now that you’re back and you’ve got all your tasks written out, let’s start prioritizing.
Step Three: Categorize and Prioritize
I’m going to walk you through how to do this. If you’re a visual learner (like me), you can see an example on the right.
- Click on "Show Menu" on the right side of your Trello board
- Click on the "More" option
- Choose "Labels"
- Click the pencil icons to start editing your label names and colors.
- Put your top three goals in order.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the colors are in order too - it won’t work if you try to use Purple before Red, it will change the order. SEE EXAMPLE ON THE RIGHT.
Now that you have your label names and colors set, it’s time to go through each task, one by one, and assign the proper.
Here are some examples for mine:
1 - Self-care: creating a morning routine (I’ll be writing more about this in a future blog post), there’s a lot of books I want to read, managing my money, trying out a new hobby - things like that count as self-care for me
2 - Current clients: I list the names of all my clients and what tasks I need to get done for them week by week, so these are tasks I create every week for myself to stay on track.
3 - Build my list to 1K: here’s where the task list gets long. Do a giveaway, do webinars, do a telesummit, share my opt-ins, share on Facebook, live stream, the list can go on.
4 - Moving: clean up my closet, throw out clothes (I know :( I’m crying on the inside too), pack up stuff, etc
Things that cannot be labeled - buying or doing a program, tweaking my website to perfection, making business cards, my facebook newsfeed and cat video addiction, etc.
If you label a task, great! Done!
IF there’s a task that CANNOT be labeled or categorized under one of your goals, you’re going to move it to the “Maybe Later” list and forget about it until… well… later…
You remember how we created a boundary? Only FOUR tasks at a time?
Well here’s where we implement.
Step Four: Get Stuff Done
You’re going to go through all the tasks you labeled in “Ideas” and choose ONE FROM EACH GOAL - and put it in your “To Do” list.
If you’re already working on one, then you can put it in the “Doing” list, and the same for “planned”
It should look like my board:
I have my entire brain dump of tasks in “Ideas” and I continue to add tasks and label them in there. When it’s time to start thinking about doing it, I move it to planned ONLY if there’s space for it (again, only 1 per goal). When I’m ready to actually do it, I move it to the “To Do” list. Once I’m in the process of doing it, then I move it to “Doing”
Now here’s the deal breaker.
When you start your day, you’ll be focusing on your “DOING” list and avoiding the rest AT ALL COSTS. NO EXCEPTIONS. You won’t work on anything, you won’t jump on facebook, you won’t do anything else until you’ve completed your “Doing” list and have moved it to “Done” and cleared up space for the next to do.
THIS is how you stay focused and productive.
And I already hear you asking “but Kat, what if the task I have on my ‘doing’ list is too big to finish in a day?”
That’s when you use checklists and due dates.
You’ll go into the task that’s too big, and create a check list - and check off at least one item per day, or more if they’re easy and quick tasks.
You'll start with your top priority first and move your way down. And this is how you’ll manage what you do day in and day out.
Don’t miss out on a free checklist and Trello template to help you implement these steps!
Sign up and get the freebies below.
I have one favor to ask you though.
I know you’re a high achiever. I know you love to work and you’re always focused on the next thing you need to get done - but when you finish a task and move it over to “Done”...
Stop and celebrate.
Stop and celebrate the success you already have, the tasks you’ve already accomplished, and how amazing you are. Look at all that you’ve done and where you’ve come from on a daily basis. Practice gratitude.
With the mix of presence & gratitude, plus a clear action plan for the future - this is when you’ll experience flow.
Start this now and commit to following it for the next 90 days - I promise you’ll see a change in your productivity and you’ll see results from your goals.
So let me know in the comments below - what are your top 3 -5 goals and when are you starting your 90 day commitment to this system?
BONUS POINTS: Add your team to the Trello board and assign tasks for them to help you with!
Anybody that does this and emails me a screenshot with proof will get a bonus surprise from me ;)