How to Use Your To-Do List to Achieve Your Goals

If your to-do list is getting longer and longer, but you aren’t seeing any results – it’s time to make a change. Today I’m chatting about the exact process I use each week to create a to-do list that helps you achieve your goals. Essentially – a list that gets results at home AND in business. Sound like what you need? Then, let’s get started.

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Before we get into this episode, I have to let you know about my FREE Achieving Goals Workbook. After signing up, you’ll receive five short lessons about goals delivered straight to your inbox, along with some resources to help you lay out your dreams for your family, life, business, and more. I’ll take you step by step through this planning process and you’ll walk away with an actionable plan you can implement immediately. Because the truth is, we can’t achieve our goals if we aren’t super clear about what those goals are. Get that clarity by grabbing yours today at sarahbrumley.com/goals.

How to Use Your To-Do List to Achieve Your Goals

Hey there and welcome to this episode of Mama Business. I’m Sarah and I’m so excited you are joining me today as we chat about designing a to-do list that ACTUALLY help us achieve our goals. This is a topic I think about often, because – I don’t know about you – but as a busy mom and a business owner there are SO many things to do each day. The problem is that if I’m not careful, I can get to the end of the day and realize that I’ve checked a lot of boxes, but I’m really no further along than I was when I started.

And that’s sad, right? Because the idea of getting things done is that we actually make progress towards getting to where we want to be. At least, that’s how I feel.

And this especially rings true when I’m doing things for my business. Because every moment spent doing those things takes my focus away from my husband, my kids, my friends, and my home and that means that if I’m not completing the things that move the needle in my business – then all of that sacrifice is for nothing.

Of course, it’s not always for nothing – sometimes it’s just a good brain break from mommyhood, but if this is the pattern that emerges day after day, then it’s time to take a deeper look at that to-do list.

…and that’s exactly what I want to do now by giving you three steps to turning your to-do list into a goal-achieving blueprint. Ooooh – and I’ve created a super cool template to help you follow along with me, so feel free to pause this episode and go grab it now at sarahbrumley.com/priority.

But before we jump into the to-do list end of things, I have to say that if you aren’t sure what your goals are, then you need to start there. Because there’s really no way to make a plan for HOW to achieve something if you don’t know what that something is. And – if you need a little help doing this, head over to sarahbrumley.com/goals and grab my free resource to help you get clarity on what matters most to you – at home and in business. I’ll link to it in the show notes as well, but once again you can find it at sarahbrumley.com/goals.

Now that we have that straightened out – let’s jump into those three steps to turn your weekly to-do list into that goal-achieving blueprint.

Step #1: Create a Weekly Focus

The first step in this process is to create a weekly focus. Now, I do this in a couple of ways. First, I take a look at my goals that I’m working toward. What is the most important one that I need to be focused on this week? Don’t get me wrong, I’m likely going to be working on a few goals this week, but I’ve recognized that when I make ONE of those goals my prime focus, I make a lot more progress.

  1. Is there a timing issue with one of these? Am I getting close to that end date?
  2. Is this something that I’ve been neglecting?
  3. Is this a goal that I’m not achieving at this time?
  4. If I created momentum with this goal, would other goals or areas of my life run more smoothly or effectively?

In my case, I have goals across eight different areas of my life:

  • Health
  • Friends
  • Finances
  • Faith
  • Marriage
  • Business
  • Family
  • Recreation

…and not in that order. And while all of those goals are important to me, I know that there are a couple of them that have greater significance, just due to how they affect the rest of my life.

More often than not, I’m going to be focused on one of three goals: health, family, or business.

Here’s why: when I’m focused on my health, I’m in a better mood, I show up better for both my family and business, and it’s just better all around.

When I’m focused on my business, I’m typically working on revenue generating activities which means that I’m able to fund fun family activities, recreation, etc. And our finances benefit as a whole because of it. See the trickle down effect?

Okay, so go ahead and walk yourself through this process for the week and determine which one needs your greatest focus.

There may be one that just sticks out to you. But it could also be that you need to have a combination of a couple of your goals. For example, if your goal of exercising is super important but you also know you need to prioritize your relationship with your spouse, maybe your weekly focus becomes something like take a daily walk with my husband. Two birds, one stone, right?

So the first step is to create a weekly focus.

Step #2: Create a Daily Focus

That leads us to the second step which is to create a daily focus. Now, you may base this partially off of your weekly focus, but more than likely, your daily focus will change based on what you need to accomplish during that time frame.

If I know I’m going to have a lot of client meetings in a day, then I make my daily focus Business. If my sister is coming to town and I plan to spend time with her, then I make my daily focus (and possibly my weekly focus depending on how long she’s going to be here) family.

Keep in mind, that this doesn’t mean that you won’t throw a business task or two into a family day or a family task or two into a business day, it just helps you stay on track with what’s most important.

Don’t over think this, okay. In my case, these daily focus items tend to be fairly recurring from week to week. Two to three days per week my focus is on business, Two to three days it’s family, One to two days it’s friends, etc.

Step #3: Create 3 Daily Priorities

And that brings us to step 3 which is to actually turn your goals – and these focus areas into an actionable to-do list.

Before I talk about the actual list, though, I want to chat for a moment about the thought process that often surrounds a to-do list. A lot of times we see a to-do list as the things we “have to do”. You know, all the dreaded things that collect and then we push them off to another day if at all possible and dread when that day comes? You know it’s true.

But, what would happen if you started to considering your to-do list as a “get-to do” list, instead? What if it was a list you could look at each day and get excited about accomplishing it because you knew at the end of the day you’d be one step closer to achieving a bigger goal or goals?

That’s exactly what we are going to create now and I like to think of it as a priorities list.

So, step 3 is simply to create 3 daily priorities or tasks. Now, for all of you overachievers – I said 3. I didn’t say 5 or 10 – I said 3. What are the three things you will accomplish each day over the course of the week?

I like to start by looking at my weekly focus. If I choose, for example, health or exercise as my focus for the week, then I’m going to carry that out across my week in the daily tasks. One day I might add walking as a checklist item and the next I might do Pilates. Whatever it is, I’m going to make sure it’s on my daily list.

Then…I’m going to look at my daily focus for each day. If Monday is a Business focus day, then I’m going to make sure I know EXACTLY what I need to accomplish to make that day a success. That might take one or two of those three slots, depending on what you need to accomplish to achieve that goal. For me, I batch my work a lot, so I might simply add “Podcast Recording” as a task for Monday. If I have a client project that needs to get done, I might note that as a task.

If you have chores to complete – you might just note chores under one of those tasks. Personally, I complete two chores around the house each day. Sometimes I get a little more done, but if I complete those chores, then I end the day feeling satisfied that it got done. And – that’s one of the ways that I serve my family, so it helps me accomplish my bigger goal in that category.

So, I’ll lay out how this looks.

This week my big focus of the week is Business, specifically Podcast Recording. Today, my focus is Business and my priorities for the day are:

  1. Record three podcast episodes.
  2. Onboard my new client.
  3. Complete my chores of one load of laundry and cleaning the kitchen.

Tomorrow, obviously my focus for the week is still Business, but my daily focus is Family. My daily priorities include:

  1. Schedule that podcast episode I recorded yesterday.
  2. Pick up my sister from the airport in the afternoon.
  3. Complete my chores of one load of laundry and cleaning the litter boxes.

You KNOW I do more during the day, right? Obviously I have kids and a husband and we make dinner and I go on a daily walk, etc. But the other things don’t necessarily move the needle forward when it comes to making a dent in my big goals. And that’s the problem with a to-do list that doesn’t follow this process. It’s easy to toss everything and anything on it and never see any results.

But, when I follow this process and I check off my daily three things, I know that I’ve been successful – even it’s only one small step at a time – in moving closer to achieving my goals. And that’s a great feeling.

How Will You Achieve YOUR Goals?

So, quick recap of the three steps to a successful to-do list that helps you achieve your goals.

  1. Create a Weekly Focus
  2. Create a Daily Focus
  3. Create 3 Daily Priorities

As I’ve mentioned – I like to do this once per week – normally on Sunday night, so that I have a good idea of where I’m going for the week.

And that brings us to the action part of this episode. I’m a huge proponent of taking action, because action is where the dreams turn into the reality. And that’s why every Mama Business episode comes with action steps you can take immediately to up level your mama life and business. Ideally you’ll take action on all of the things we’ve discussed today, but if you only have time for one, it’s this:

ACTION: Start thinking about your to-do list as a “get-to-do” list. And then, take a look at it and decide, what things are you adding to that list that aren’t making a difference in any one direction. I know that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like, but for the most part, you should wake up excited each day about the possibilities ahead. If your to-do list isn’t helping you create the impact you want, then it’s time to rethink it. And this weekly to-do list process might be just what you need.

I know from personal experience that I am more likely to accomplish what I set out to do if I am accountable to someone. So DM me on Instagram @sarahlbrumley and let me know one way you plan to use your to-do list to help you achieve your goals going forward. I can’t wait to cheer you on! I’ll chat with you soon! Have an awesome day.

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