5 Tips To Get Your To-Do List In Check

Are you running your business or is your business running you? If it feels like the latter, you may be ready for a new perspective on project management. Here are five helpful tips to keep your to-do list – and business – in check.

1. Acknowledge that you’re a project manager

You probably don’t consider yourself a project manager. Yet think about what you do each day. Whether it’s creating the week’s menu or vetting new vendors, everything you do is a project of some sort.

When you think like a project manager, you set aside time for to-do list maintenance. You look for solutions that can help you get things done more efficiently. And you hold yourself accountable for deadlines – and push others to do so, too.

Click here for advice from a top project manager that can help you get in the mindset.

2. Over communicate

Whether you’re dealing with employees, vendors, customers or anyone else significant, be crystal clear with your communication. Follow-up phone calls and conversations with emails, if it’s important, and clarify things on your end if you have questions.

If you’re not sure if you’ve provided enough information, put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. Could you move forward with the info that was provided? If the answer is anything but a solid yes, then you’ve got some more explaining to do.

Here are ten ways to help improve communication at work.

3. Put technology to work

Not long ago, a to-do list was conquered with pencil and paper and physical "in/out" boxes – along with lots of scribbled post-it notes. Today, we have computers to connect us, and software systems to keep our projects in check.

A web search on project management software provides an overwhelming number of options, so before you dive in consider what you want from a system first. Are you looking to manage projects with multiple stakeholders in different locations? Do you need something to monitor inventory for lean operating needs?

You really are in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding a fit for your business. This resource breaks down some of the most popular options to choose from.

4. Apply some "gel"

Sports talk is filled with examples of players that have "gelled" effectively, or players that are "on the same page." It’s jargon for teammates that have been together long enough to instinctively react when it’s time to deliver.

Give your employees the training and time they need to gel. Make changes, if needed, until you have the players in place to tackle unrealistic deadlines or hit it out of the park on customer service. It’s your team, and your job is to maximize the potential of your players.

5. Clear a path

What’s an obstacle course without obstacles? A clear path to the finish line. As a business owner, one of the most important things you can do to empower your workforce is to clear the way for them so they can complete projects successfully.

Make sure sales and marketing can communicate effectively so neither is in the dark. Give production and vendors access to key decision makers so that workflow can continue uninterrupted. Free up physical space for new employees so they can hit the ground running.

The more you effectively manage your projects and take control of your to-do list, the more successful your business will be. By applying the tips shared here, you can turn to-dos into "done wells," quite emphatically.

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