To Do Lists and Done Lists

As entrepreneurs, who are working on projects in our spare time, it often feels like we’re treading water. We are working towards our goals, but it seems like things are not happening fast enough. It’s important to feel a sense of accomplishment throughout the process.

My solution: To Do Lists and Done Lists.

The value of a To Do list is obvious:  Write things down so you remember them. It is essential for keeping activities and action items straight, so they don’t fall through the cracks. Lists are especially important for entrepreneurs and those who are starting a business. Done lists are more about tracking your progress and staying motivated. They are extremely important for everyone, no matter what business you are building.

To Do Lists

We use To Do lists in our personal lives all the time: for the grocery store, due dates for bills, scheduling, appointments, kids’ activities, just about everything. We obviously use these in our professional lives, as well – to keep track of meetings, projects, and deadlines. First there were date books, then pdas, and now everything is kept on a smartphone. The digital age certainly helps with prioritizing and time management.

For To Do lists I use a combination of my Google calendar – for things that need to get done on the deadline dates … or in some cases a few days before  – and Evernote for the actual lists, so I can access them anytime, anywhere.  Urgent tasks also earn a place on my computer sticky notes. However, there really is no substitute for the satisfaction of writing something down on paper in ink and then drawing a line through it when it’s completed.

Done Lists

Done Lists are perfect for the entrepreneur. Since many people, who are in the start-up phase of a business, work full-time elsewhere, they rely on found time to move their passion projects forward. Even though you are not scheduling specific project-time, you still can – and should – track your time spent. For those days when you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, you check your Done list and see how far you have gone.


  • Keep a running list of To Dos for your new business or project. Write everything in the same notebook or computer file.
  • Each Sunday, take a look at you main list and pick the top items you want to try to accomplish that week.
  • At the end of each day, write down your accomplishments. You can also track the time you spent on your project that day.
  • At the end of the week, look at all your accomplishments and commend yourself for all that you have achieved.

Remember, you don’t build a business overnight. Keep track of what you need to do and what you have done. That will keep you motivated and well-positioned for success!

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