Text on picture: What did you think of when you read "to-do list"

What I mean when I say “to-do list”, isn’t usually what people hear

I’ve realized that what I mean when I say “to-do list” isn’t usually what people hear.

What did you think of when you read “to-do list”? Type it in the comments below before you continue reading.

Generally, people think of a “to-do list” as the piece of paper with the tasks or projects that they hope to accomplish for the day. Or that list in their head. Or it’s the exhausting list of EVERYTHING that needs to get done.

For me, a “to-do list” is a system.

This system encompasses my intentions, goals, quarterly plans, current month plans, week plans, and today’s plans.

It’s the reason I’m able to regularly send out birthday cards, stay on top of bookkeeping, and a lot of other things.

It’s the reason I have fewer things to do, but the things I do have more impact.

It helps me manage my time and expectations.

This system didn’t appear overnight and solve many of my time and attention problems.

The first version that worked well for me developed over the course of a year.

In that year, there were a couple of ways I kept track of things that didn’t last long, but they were important for me to try. They helped me figure out what didn’t work for me, and what about them did work for me.

This important period of trying things that ultimately didn’t work led me to a system I used for about 18 months. Then it needed to be adjusted.

A system will work well for me for 18 to 24 months, and then I need to tweak something. One tweak was to move my system from all paper to a OneNote and paper combination. Most recently, it was a format change in OneNote.

If your to-do list is one piece of paper with today’s tasks on it or a LONG list of everything, then I encourage you to consider what your to-do list system might look like.

Start by thinking about what you will remember to check daily or already check daily.

Other questions to consider: Is it all on paper? Maybe in a notebook or a binder? Is it all electronic? Does it sync to your phone? Is it a hybrid of paper and electronic? What part lives where? How is it laid out?

It doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s just a place to start and build from.

Of course, if you want help creating your to-do list system, reach out and let’s talk about it. Just comment below.

Picture of label maker with text What labels aren't working for you? And how to change them

What labels aren’t working for you? And how to change them

Does anyone else love their label maker?

I do! I’ve had it for a few years, and even though I don’t use it on a weekly or even monthly basis, I love being able to label things.

Mostly I use it on file folders.

It makes things easy to file and find.

There’s a different label maker that I’ve had for even longer.

I can’t remember not having it.

It can label file folders, but it doesn’t label all of them. And it doesn’t label them in the way that label maker does either.

It’s labels cover so much more. A few examples of the labels it uses are frustrating, boring, annoying, meh, or fun.

It labels my intentions and goals as things like good, silly, unachievable, and doable.

It labels the items on my todo list with words and phrases like ugh, please no, boring, fun, let’s see how this goes, and hmm.

Actually, my goals and projects are sometimes labeled with many of the same words/feelings as my todo list labels.

If you haven’t guessed yet, this label maker is my brain.

It tries to be ever so helpful with these labels, but it can really work me up about things I don’t need to be.

For example, when I was able to stop labeling my bookkeeping as “UGH” and “avoid” and “do something else” it made it a lot easier to do.

I did that by noticing the labels I had given bookkeeping and deciding what labels I would like it to have.

The words that came to mind were “easy,” “quick,” and even “fun.”

The labels your brain puts on things can be harder to remove and replace then labels on file folders.

For me to change my labels around bookkeeping, I thought about what would make it easy, quick, and fun. I wrote down some ideas and started trying different things.

The first things I tried didn’t entirely work, so I made some adjustments. It took about three months to put a loose system in place that makes it pretty easy and quick. I’m okay with it not always being fun. The win is that I no longer avoid it and don’t feel “UGH” about it.

Everything starts with noticing the labels.

As you go through the rest of your week, notice the label you’re applying to your goals, projects, and tasks.

And answer these questions:

  1. Which labels do you want to change?
  2. What do you want to change those labels to?
  3. What ideas do you have about how you might change those labels?
  4. What idea or ideas can you start implementing?

I’d love to know what things you’re changing your labels for and how you’re doing it! Comment below to let me know.

Start with a doable goal that leads you to the BIG goal you're dreaming of

Start with a doable goal that leads you to the BIG goal you’re dreaming of

You might have heard me say that I don’t set BIG goals.

BIG goals don’t motivate me.

They tend to feel so outside my realm of possibility that it feels futile even to try to attempt them.

When I do set BIG goals, I make grand plans and then do nothing.

Instead, I focus on doable goals.

However, recently I realized that I do have BIG goals for my business. I want to help a lot of people and make more money too.

I also know that I can’t get there from where I am in 30 days.

Success builds.

I focus on a doable goal that will be the foundation of the next goal.

You won’t have an $8,000+ month until you have a $5,000+ month. And before you have a $5,000 month, you might need to set your sights on a $4,000 or $3,000 month. And before those, you had a $500 month and $1,000 month.

That’s a lot of numbers to say this: start with a doable goal that leads you to the BIG goal you’re dreaming of.

A mistake I made early in my business (and I hear my clients say that they’ve done this too) was setting a goal to make $5000 in the next month because I didn’t want to “play small,” but I’d never had a $1,000 month at that point.

Instead of celebrating that milestone in my business (WHOOHOO! I had my FIRST $1,000 month), I beat myself up for only accomplishing 20% of my goal.

I served those clients and didn’t do anything else because I felt like a failure and fraud.

What if I had celebrated instead?

What if I had recognized that this was a huge accomplishment for my business at the time and could be a building block for future successes?

My business would be much different now.

I wish that my experience was a rarity.

But it’s not.

When I do goal setting with my clients or the Next Level Business Mastermind members, I suggest that they set doable goals so they can feel a sense of completion and celebrate their goals. Sometimes hear a sigh of relief at this.

Success builds.

Success builds on experience, failure, ideas, and it builds on itself.

I encourage you to set a doable goal for your business this month with an eye toward the BIG goal you’re dreaming of.

I’d love to know your doable goal and the BIG goal it’s leading you to! Leave a comment and let me know.

Picture of a map with the text: The roads weren't on her map

The roads weren’t on her map! (A cute story about being lost)

Scene: My sweet aunt-in-law has an appointment with a new-to-her specialist in the neighboring town.

​Armed with the address and a map, she leaves extra early to find the office. But she can’t find it and misses her appointment.

Later, my lovely mother-in-law (her sister) tries to help her find it.

Neither woman has a smartphone; what they do have is their trusty paper map.

Together they attempt to find the office using their map.

They fail two more times and miss another appointment.

Nate (my husband) and I visit later that week, and they tell their frustrating story.

Nate pulls up Google Maps on his laptop and pops in the address. My MIL is confused; some roads aren’t on her map!

The problem?

The trusty paper map that has served them well for many years was dated 2007. It didn’t show the redevelopment that happened for a new Walmart that went in around 2012. 

The office they were looking for was in an older building that is BEHIND the Walmart.

I love these ladies and their can-do attitudes dearly. 

They were determined to figure it out by themselves and didn’t hesitate to ask for help after their attempts failed.

What does this cute little story have to do with you?

Are there areas of your business that aren’t working as well as they used to?

Maybe things that used to be easy or go like clockwork don’t anymore. 

It might be time to take a step back and reevaluate the situation.

And, in some cases, ask a trusted outsider for help or perspective.

I invite you to join me next week (Thursday, July 23 at 4 pm CT) for my webinar, 3 Keys to Getting The Right Things Done Each Day. The three keys I’ll share will also help you take a step back and evaluate where you are and what might need to be updated. Click here for the details and to register to join me.

The Business Bunny Hop

I’ve heard some version of “I feel like for every two steps forward I take, I also take a step back” over the past couple of weeks.

It makes me think of the bunny hop (forward, backward, hop, hop, hop, and then a little dance).

It’s not always forward movement, but overall, you are making progress.

Sometimes, it can feel like you’re not moving forward, despite all the work you’re doing.

Other times you move forward and then find yourself back where you started.

Then there are those times where it feels like you made significant progress.

Where ever you find yourself, know that you’re on the dance floor. It’s all part of the business bunny hop.

If you’re ready for more consistent forward movement in your business, let me know, because I can help you with this! Comment below or send me a message letting me know you want to set up a Strategy Session with me.