The joy of the to-do list

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  • Business
  • Communications
  • marketing strategy
  • Nielsen McAllister
  • planning
  • PR
It’s Friday. And it’s nearly the end of the month. Time to take stock of my to-do list, distilling all my many reminders and Post-It notes onto one fresh page in my A4 spiral ring bound pad – lined of course. All so I know exactly how much I still must do.

I do, however, find it oddly satisfying having a list. At least I know where I’m going. The micro-joy of ticking each task off once complete is still one I can’t quite explain.

And my to-do list also has another benefit. Each crossed-off item acts as a record of things that I’ve achieved. While it’s not something I check often, by looking across them I can see quite how much has been done.

It’s here, too, that I can also see the variation in the tasks I’m involved with and the inherent need for multi-tasking. Not just by client but also by activity. My to-do list shows just how much we do as an agency: creating new content; writing a white paper; reviewing a social strategy; defining the next tactical approach to a new brief.

My to-do list also helps me to assess how much time I’m spending with the team. Linking in with their tasks, alongside hearing their input to account plans, are often some of the most engaging parts of the week. Better than the rabbit hole of Google Analytics reports, stationery orders, IT policies or checking the VAT… such are the joys of being a company Director.

Yet, while my to-do list helps in the world of work, it doesn’t quite extend into the multitude of tasks outside of this. Here, I turn to my Google Calendar (other calendars are also available). Now my tasks simply transfer onto a weekly/monthly/yearly action plan and with the added benefit of set timings and alarms too.

Leaving for parents’ evening, picking up son number two from rugby training or attending a networking function. They’re all in there, interspersed with reminders for birthdays and anniversaries along with the extra bits of shopping. No excuses for missing things now.

So, it looks like my definition of multi-tasking in action is an A4 pad and a calendar on my phone!

But in reality, the specific tools or techniques don’t matter. The important thing is that this is what works for me. When you work in a fast-paced environment such as a communications agency, people might assume that juggling or multi-tasking is ‘just what you do.’ Yet it really is an important skill and having a technique to manage it ensures I can deliver.

Now, where’s my to-do list? I have a blog to tick off.

Need help with your PR and marketing? Then, why not contact us for a chat and a coffee and we’ll add you to Simon’s list.

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