How to take control of your to-do list

Chloe Bell Content Journalist at Bionic by Chloë Bell on May 14th 2021

We’ve all been swamped by our ‘to-do’ lists before, haven't we? We’ve all tried to recall those urgent tasks and cursed that we hadn’t written them all down. 

Or maybe you do jot down the vital things, but the bigger the list grows, the more your productivity suffers as you just don’t know where to start.  

To combat this problem, the expert team at Bionic want to share a savvy approach to help you stay organised and create your best to-do lists. This blog will kickstart your motivation and get you flying through those tasks in no time.  

You’ll stop wasting time and have more valuable minutes to spend on what's really important - running your business. 

How to get through any to-do list

What exactly is this magic approach to cracking your to-do list?  

The good news is we’re not reinventing the wheel – you'll still be working from the same to do list and you’ll have the same tasks, but you’ll be splitting them into four seperate groups to make them more manageable. This will help you prioritise and work out the most urgent tasks. 

Black pen next to white paper. On it is written 'to-do list. Everything' and drawing of worried stick man.

The format itself is known as the Eisenhower Matrix (named after the 34th American President Dwight Eisenhower after he created this neat way of organising tasks, pub quiz fans). 

Keeping track of to do tasks is vital, and although technology is a massive part of running a successful business, sometimes you just can't beat a pen and paper! 

To get started, just follow these four simple steps, and discover a new way of organising by urgency and importance. 

Step 1 - Draw your Eisenhower Matrix 

Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, then start off by simply drawing a vertical line down your page. Next draw a horizontal line through the middle, so a cross fills the page. 

Red table with white sheet of paper. Paper has one black horizontal and one black vertical line drawn down the middle as a cross

Step 2 - Label your Eisenhower Matrix 

With your matrix not set out, label each box clockwise from top left to bottom right as below: 

  1. Top Left ‘Do First’ - The ‘Do First’ category are tasks that you believe to be both urgent and important and should be dealt with first. Examples of ‘Do First’ tasks are things that cannot be late such as paying your employees' wages. 
  2. Top Right ‘Schedule’ - The ‘Schedule’ box is reserved for things that are considered important but not urgent and need to be done as soon as possible but don’t need to be looked at first. These tasks could include things like sending invoices to suppliers or starting work on your new website. 
  3. Bottom Left ‘Delegate’ - The ‘Delegate’ category is for tasks that are urgent, but not important. These are tasks like staff training, because although it is essential to make sure your staff are better trained, your business has survived until this point. 
  4. Bottom Right ‘Do Later’ - The ‘Do Later’ box is for tasks that are neither important nor urgent. You can dismiss the ‘Do Later’ tasks and put them off to another day. These can be things like renaming a meeting room or anything extra for your business, the finishing touches. 
White paper with black cross and words written in top of each box on the page.

Step 3 - Add tasks to your Eisenhower Matrix 

Fill out the four boxes with your to do tasks for the day or week, thinking carefully and honestly about what fits best where.  

By the time you’re finished, you should have a clear picture about what you need to start with and why. This process should also help you have a less cluttered mind and a better vision on how to spend your working day. 

White paper with black cross and words written in top of each box on the page. Tasks now filled in in each box.

Step 4 - Keep updating your Eisenhower Matrix

Keep on updating your list of tasks and adding them to each box. Our priorities change weekly, daily, even hourly, so by re-assessing your tasks regularly, you can make sure you’re dealing with the most important and urgent ones first.  

By setting your tasks aside in this specific way, you can focus your time and energy on things in order of urgency and importance, instead of ones you fancy doing first because they’re less hassle. 

If you run a cafe, for instance, you may have Tuesday evenings jotted down as the time to do your weekly shopping. But if there's suddenly a huge demand for tea and scones one weekend, you could find your stock has been emptied out by Sunday night. This is bad news for anyone who fancies a cream tea on Monday, and bad news for your business if you can't give customers what they want.

In this instance, you'll need to push that weekly shop to 'Important urgent'. This is because it will suddenly become a task that could have damaging effects to your business if you don’t complete it.

White paper with black cross and words written in top of each box on the page. Tasks have been moved to different boxes.

This more analytic way of working can be beneficial in all occupations, but especially when running a small business as it can help free up valuable time. Pretty soon, you'll find that your to-do list is working for you. In fact, you'll know it's working for you when it looks something like this 👇

White paper with black cross and words written in top of each box on the page. Tasks have been moved to different boxes and a doodle of a shark added.

How Bionic can help you hack your to-do list 

Becoming a Bionic business means so much more than simply choosing us to find your next business energy or business connectivity deal. Our tech-enabled experts are here to help your small business achieve its potential by helping you save time and money when sorting your business essentials. 

We’ll help increase your business productivity by finding the best business energyinsurance or broadband deals, leaving time for you to focus on running your business. You just need to choose the deal you like best, and we’ll take care of the switch for you. We can even help you switch to new tech, like business VoIP.

Our digital renewal service means you never have to worry about overpaying for energy again, as we’ll proactively search for the best renewal quote when your current contract is coming to an end. 

And when you’re more savvy about your spending and clued up on costs, you can relax knowing that you’re not overspending and can focus on more pressing things like your customer relationships, new stock, and an engaging marketing strategy.  

Not only are our experts on hand to contact by phone, our useful blog and newsletter is packed full of guides and tips for small businesses. Bionic offers detailed guidance on how to make the most out of your business and how to improve month after month.  

Thousands of small businesses like yours are becoming Bionic businesses and finding that they are not only saving on their monthly bills but are also learning how to be the very best version of themselves and use their individual skills to their advantage.  

We’ll always be on hand to ensure you get the best deals, share the latest tech innovations to keep your business ahead of the rest, along with expert advice and stories from customers to keep you inspired.  

To find out more and discover how being a Bionic business can help you develop for the future, contact us today. Enter your postcode and business name at Bionic.co.uk and one of our tech experts will get back to you and discuss how Bionic can help you. 

 Images: Courtesy of John Schultz on Flickr.