Step One to Higher Productivity

I know a mom with 6 kids who is a doctor. She shares a practice with her husband. She is also THE mom who volunteers for everything. She makes tons of yummy food for school functions and for the weekend theater group where our both her kids and mine perform. She travels with her kids’ show choir and her son’s basketball team. I’ve watched her closely for the last 8 years and I’ve finally got her figured out, her secret is pretty darn simple.

She’s a list maker.

The key to being a good list maker is also very simple. Keep a master list for the week, keep daily lists, and keep project lists.

So, how do you start? Becoming a list maker is also very simple. First you need to decide if you like good ole’ pen and paper (that’s my favorite way.) Or, do you want to keep a digital list you can access always from your mobile device? My favorite mobile version is Google Keep. So, check that out. My aforementioned friend is a big Google Keep user. She can share her lists with her husband and family, even adding groceries via their Google Home device. I personally love Greenroom Notebooks, you can get them at Target.

Notebooks I love! image from

Ok, decision made. You’re going to make your lists the same way, wether you use paper or the digital variety. Start with thinking about what you want to accomplish this month. These are broad tasks like “add a new team member” or “Sell $1000 in product.” They can be business related or personal but remember it’s better to have a short monthly list. You don’t want to many tasks. You might even realize that your monthly list looks a lot like the goals you’d like to achieve.

Next, make daily lists. Every day, write down 5–7 tasks that are going to make you money and/or bring you closer to those monthly tasks. This might be something like “make three calls to set up opportunity sharing appointments” or “call 5 customers for reorders.” On a personal note it could be “send thank you cards for birthday gifts” or “go to the grocery store.” Some people like to keep separate lists for their business and personal life and I think that is really smart. When you’re working for yourself it’s easy to intermingle your life with your business but before long you might wonder why you’re so busy but not making any money. Your past list will be a record of your activity and can help you identify where you need to improve.

Sample Daily List

The last kind of list to boost your productivity is your project list. If you are hosting a large event or even a party in your home you’ll want to keep a list of tasks that will let you know how much more you have to do, when you’re done and what you can delegate. Project lists might hang around in your note book for a few weeks or so until the project is complete. Project lists are going to have items you need to purchase, borrow or get out and set up. Those list might include an actual task such as “make lemonade” or “set up spa stations.” I love the feeling of marking all the items off and turning the page once a big project is complete.

I’m sure you’ll find lots of other ways to make lists work for you. I’d love to hear your ideas.