My step-dad just made a blog entry about how we shouldn’t idolize official To-Do lists. He says we should really just keep them short and simple. While I’m usually a shining example of Scott’s “Do Not Do This” showcases, I’m here to tell you what good a detailed To-Do list does.
It’s on, Scott.
Here’s a great example of a typical day for me. I’m plagued with official anxiety, so having goals – however small – helps me keep my mind from reeling. To me, if it’s not written down or accounted for in some way, I feel lost and overwhelmed. Even stuff I have to do at home. See? I forgot to wash my own dinner dish.
Being a business owner means you’re a person of many hats. While my skills are in operations (packing, ordering supplies, keeping up with inventories), I have to lend a hand everywhere to keep the wheels turning. My list may say to label jars for a few hours (yup – we do it by hand), but if my customer service reps are out-numbered by calls, I have to hop on there. Sometimes I’ll engage with someone who needs more than the extra hand.
For instance: someone entered in their ship-to address wrong, which happens a lot for those of us who refuse to use anything but a smart phone to type. OK, since the package is on the road I have to now call UPS to check on the approximated new delivery time if we do ultimately update the address. Could be later today or it could be tomorrow (we’re all screwed if it’s a Friday afternoon because that package isn’t getting rerouted until Monday). Then, I have to call back the customer and let them know the scoop. Now the hard part: for UPS to reorganize their shipping process, there is a fee. This means I need to run a card (we don’t keep credit cards on file – a huge no-no for us) if the customer is OK with the fee. If they’re not, well – options are pretty limited because we can’t send out a new package for free (we already lose quite a bit on shipping, anyways).
See how long that took you to read? Now try and remember what you were doing before this whole blog entry thing. If you’re like me, you’re going to need a list to back track.
I guess what I’m saying is that shit happens and I need to constantly rearrange myself to keep up. Owning a business means that you may have a series of To-Do lists that beat out the page numbers in the Harry Potter series. Some days you may go quickly from task to task. However, you will have many days where multiple tasks are abandoned to solve something in the moment. You will have to accept that random things will require your attention. You will always be adding on to your list as your business grows. Being busy can be tough, but busy is good.
Another tip: write down your own hilarious (and delirious) thoughts; makes for a good reread.