Small business owners are historically busy people. Entrepreneurs like you often wear many hats, including CEO, accountant and salesperson. Unsurprisingly, the to-do lists of small business owners are typically long and extremely varied. This can prove problematic when you're trying to ascertain which tasks are the most immediate and important.
As Frank Addante writes for Inc. magazine, today's digital age only adds to the deluge, with "emails, voicemails, text messages, tweets, Facebook messages and the occasional old-fashioned phone call bombarding us every day."
The proliferation of channels makes it even harder to focus on things like business banking and securing commercial loans, especially for those of you who use your email inboxes as an electronic to-do list. With so much weighing on your mind, it can be difficult to actually get things done. That's where a not-right-now list comes in.
Addante defines a not-right-now list as "a list on which you put things that you don't have time to work on right now, but you don't want to take off your to-do list." A not-right-now list can help you compartmentalize, placing aside lower-priority tasks without disregarding them altogether.
"The bottom line is you can only do so much, so why fool yourself with longer lists?" Addante writes.
He recommends that to-do lists be consulted every day and not-right-now lists be approached on a weekly basis. In the event that everything on your immediate to-do list gets done (in which case, congratulations), you can move things over from your not-right-now list in order of priority.
The same concept can be used in business meetings to keep focus and maintain direction. For example, if a good idea is put forward that isn't viable at the current time for whatever reason, you can assign it to a not-right-now list. This is a polite way of acknowledging a valuable idea and ensuring that while it doesn't derail your current focus, it also doesn't get pushed to the side.
So how do you determine which tasks should be placed on each list, and in what order of priority? In a separate article by the news source, branding and digital marketing evangelist Lauren Perkins recommends assessing value to each of the tasks you've designated as most pressing. For instance, urgent client work should take priority over important internal work, because the ramifications of not completing client work will probably be worse.