Psst … Your To-Do List is Showing

How to Shrink Your To-Do List so You Get It All Done  

Are you ready to be more productive, but become paralyzed by a huge to-do list? You are not the only one. It’s common for motivated business owners like you to feel inspired about getting more done, and totally overwhelmed about where to start.

When a client recently showed me her to-do list, I immediately felt a huge rush of anxiety. It was three pages of random, handwritten notes in no particular order, grouping, or priority. Although I couldn’t read all of the details as she waved the list in front of me, I definitely felt real angst inside of my body just like she did. It’s so odd, because it wasn’t even MY to-do list and I didn’t have to do any of the work. It was major empathy. I see this all of the time.

Business Owners create a list, then think they have to personally do everything on that to-do list by themselves.

I’ve been there. In the early days of my business, I tried to save money by wearing all of the hats instead of investing in a team. Did it increase my bank account? No. It actually cost me money in opportunity cost. Instead of using my time to implement effective marketing tactics and meeting with potential customers, I was busy creating social media graphics, modifying my website, and making accounting journal entries. None of those tasks were revenue generating.

I’ll let you in on a secret. There’s no honor in doing it all by yourself. Yes, that’s what we are taught in school. But as adults, you don’t have to follow that rule anymore. Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, would call this a Brule (“a bullsxxt rule”). That’s an outdated belief that holds you back. You must delegate more of your to-do list to other people.

When you want to be more productive, implement the 3-3-3 System for your To-Do List.

Here are the rules (not the brules):

First, write a list of only 9 Items for your To-Do List. For now, choose 9 actions that you could realistically get done in one day. Then, pick 3 Items to Delete. Yes, that’s right. There will be some actions that you can skip because they aren’t important. Ask yourself, what will happen if I don’t do this? If the result is inconsequential, delete it.

Next, pick 3 Items to Delegate. What could someone else complete on the list for you? You can call in a favor, compensate him or her, or negotiate a barter. Get comfortable with delegating work – it’s a foundational key to scaling your business. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Finally, Do the last 3 items. Ideally, these should be items that only you can do that move your business forward toward your big goals. These are the actions that make a huge difference in the success of your company. You are the most qualified person to complete these activities (think making big sales, speaking at an event, building your team, etc.)

If you still feel that you don’t have time to complete the three most critical items in your day, it’s time for more systems, processes, and automation. Systems do the work FOR you – and they produce consistent results every time. Systems free you up to focus on the important items in your business.

Not sure where to start implementing systems? Download my free list of 100 Proven Systems You Need to Boost Results for ideas on what to systemize. In the meantime since we are talking in 3s, here are three of the most overlooked systems you need to scale your business. Implement them, and gain back 10-15 hours every week.

Implement these, and gain back 10-15 hours every week.

1) Lead Magnet –

Build your community by providing a valuable free gift (aka the lead magnet) to people who visit your website. The delivery of this gift (a report, eBook, video, etc.) is standard functionality in most website software products. It takes just a few minutes to perform the initial configuration, then your lead magnet delivery is systemized forever.

While giving a free gift may be obvious to some business owners, I’m still surprised how many websites skip this important step and leave big money on the table. Here’s a great article by on How to Generate Leads from your Website. It provides simple ways to capture and nurture your leads automatically with a lead magnet.

2) Email Marketing –

Downloading a lead magnet is just the beginning. Many business owners either stop at this point, or send out an occasional newsletter a few times a year. This is not enough to build a relationship with your prospects. Studies show that less than 10% of potential customers need your product at the present moment. Most people shop around to getting educated on feature, benefits, and prices for several months before they buy.

If you don’t have systems and automation to stay top of mind with your prospects, they will buy from your competitors who do. By composing a series of emails one time that can be automatically delivered to prospects over a period of time, you are using leverage. You will improve the odds a prospect will buy from you when he or she is ready.

3) Client Experience –

Acquiring new customers is several times more expensive than maintaining the happiness of your current clients. Many business owners don’t have a system to check in with their existing customers at set intervals to nurture the relationship.

When you create the right process and cadence to connect with your customers, you will deliver an amazing client experience and increase your sales. Don’t just connect with people when you need revenue. Connect year round so you can provide immediate solutions when a new business challenge occurs in their company. I found that every 60-90 days works well for my company, as people tend to re-focus on their companies at the start of a new quarter.

My goal for you is cut your hour significantly, while still ‘getting it all done’. It’s totally possible when your BUSINESS works harder, not you. The keys are simply more delegation, leverage, and scaling.

Ready to take your Coaching/Consulting company to a new level? My next live event is the Business Accelerator Summit Experience held October 17-19, 2017. To learn more and apply for the event:


Please share your story on how delegation and systems have helped you, in the comments below.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.