How to keep on top of your to-do list

Brett Owens continues his practice management productivity series with some suggestions to help you get more things done.

Most accountants probably have hundreds of things they needed to have done yesterday. Tasks can pile up in a variety of places – from emails that land in your inbox, to Post-It notes on the computer screen, items in your to-do list and even residual niggles that take root in the back of your brain.
 
The best way to organise yourself so that you don’t spread yourself too thin is to streamline your to-do list by focusing on your most important tasks. Here are a number of steps to set you on that path:
 
Get everything in one location
If you think your e-mail inbox is that one location, think again. Keeping action items in your inbox is the kiss of death because you’ll spend all day living in your inbox, reacting to things as they come in. You’ll never get anything done.

Try to file e-mail messages after you read them rather than letting them fester in your inbox, where you’re likely to reread the same e-mail multiple times.  If action is required, note that on your to-do list. Don’t have that set up yet? No problem.
 
Setting up your to-do list
You can set up your list electronically on your PC or mobile device, or you can go old school and use a handy pen and notebook. Whatever works best for you is fine; just make sure you only have one master list.

Continued...

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Comments
JCresswellTax's picture

All about opinion

JCresswellTax | | Permalink

The previous advice I have read regarding your inbox is to deal with e-mails that can be answered quickly (within 5 mins) as they come in.

This gets rid of them instantly and only takes a few mins each time.

This works well for me.

dbowleracca's picture

Distraction

dbowleracca | | Permalink

It is dangerous to assume that emails that only take 5mins to deal with should e dealt with straight away, because the 5 minutes you spend dealig with this email distract from the task you were performing previously and therefore the overall time is probably 15 minutes

I would recommend having allocated points in the day when emails are read and responded to, such as first thing, mid day and about 4.30 (the slots I use) which ensures you concentrate fully on every task you work on.

Chawlaaandco's picture

Organising things is good Sense.

Chawlaaandco | | Permalink

In a business, organisation of things is as important as making profit. Without a right planing we can't go long in the race of cooperative world. To build up into a strong & Professional entity we should be stronger inside, in the managerial level. So, To do list is very important for business as well as for individuals. We really think this article's tips & tricks is helpful.

By Chawla & Co Ltd - Accountants in Coventry

Make a Temp Folder

DanFlak | | Permalink

There are a lot of emails that are of the nature of "maybe I'll need this information - I don't really want to delete it." These go to my temp folder to get them out of my inbox. About once a month I go through it. Most of the items have lost their importance or have subsequently been overtaken by more current information and get deleted. Some stay. If they are important enough to survive for aboout 6 months, I move them to an archive folder.

chrisjoynes's picture

CRM is great for getting your to-do list in order

chrisjoynes | | Permalink

We use Capsule CRM which is a great and very cost effective way of keeping track of all work that has to be done along with all our clients information.

Takes quite a bit of time to set up because you can change every field but this just means it is exactly what you need. I don't reccommend products often but this one I have found to be great (really friendly people as well).

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