Organizing for Business Success Begins with You!

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Four lists business owners use to manage their time and advance their business

A well-organized business owner gains a positive reputation

There are numerous tools and systems available to support better time management. Unfortunately, too many business owners understand the details of their business but cannot seem to grasp that a lack of organization can sabotage their success.

You started a business, and you need your network of clients, prospects, and supporters to have confidence in you. Unfortunately, if you become known for being disorganized – no one is going to have confidence in you. That’s not good for you and could be disastrous for your business.

Four lists you can use to become a well-organized business owner

I recently re-read an article written for Forbes Magazine by business coach and author Dan Kennedy. He describes four types of lists which he believes every entrepreneur needs to use for improving self-organization and earning the confidence of those around them.

To-do list

You’ve probably tried working with to-do lists in the past. Maybe you tried it for a few days or a few weeks, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t “work” for you. Here’s a different approach: Make it part of your evening routine.

In the mornings, you can quickly become immersed in unplanned activities. In the evenings, things have settled down, and as your stress level reduces, your mind begins to clear. Evenings are an excellent time to work on your next day’s to-do list.

Write down the things you need to do this week and group them by day. I keep a weekly to-do list rather than a daily list and have found it to be much more efficient. Kennedy recommends prioritizing each item on your to-do list as, A (Priority), B (Important), and C (Good). So, even if you can’t get everything done, you’ll likely accomplish your top priorities.

Daily schedule list

Keep a calendar printed with each day divided into 30-minute increments for listing and planning your daily schedule. You can take items for this list from your to-do list, and the only difference is that with a calendar, you can block specific time frames for your tasks and appointments.

Take today’s items from your to-do list and schedule the highest priorities (A’s) into the prime-time slots of your day. Add the B’s and then C’s anywhere they’ll fit. You’ll enjoy a sense of accomplishment whenever you get to check-off an item as you get it done.

Calls-to-return list

Make a daily list of the phone calls you need to return. Write down the caller’s information, a quick note about the nature of the call, and the specific item(s) you want to address. Again, use the A, B, and C priority approach if you have a lot of calls to return. Doing this will help you develop a practice of returning calls in the order of their importance.

Meeting planner list

You’ve probably experienced being in a meeting or on a conference call only to find later that you completely forgot the most important things you wanted to discuss. You’ll never experience that problem again once you start keeping a meeting planner list.

Whenever you think of something to talk about at your next meeting, write it down on your meeting planner list under his/her name. You’ll then have an agenda of what you want to discuss.

Practicing effective time management is the mark of a business professional

A business owner can’t afford to claim expertise in their field but lack professionalism in terms of organization. The reputation of your business will never exceed that of your own.

A business owner can’t afford to be “time management resistant.” A failure to organize is potentially a formula for disaster. If you start and maintain these four lists for a month, I‘m confident you’ll see progress in your effectiveness and efficiency, in the response of your clients and customers, and the advancement of your business.

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About the Author: David Cox

David Cox is a Co-owner of TPB Business Copyediting. He writes to encourage us to apply our multidisciplinary training and experiences to develop our current career role further.