When the world, especially the world of my small business, feels overwhelmed by chaos I choose to focus small. It’s not a narrowing focus to the exclusion of the big picture. It’s a reminder that if I plan and work on a small task it proves there is one little thing I can control. This small power can then help me work on the bigger projects of the business.
Why? While they may not seem important because they’re not the most pressing of issues, it is little things that keep your business running optimally. Planning routine tasks can help them can become a sort of respite from the chaos. These may be things that aren’t enjoyable, but as a small business owner if you don’t do them, they won’t get done.
Examples of routine business tasks
- Writing marketing materials (such as blog posts, social media, or newsletters)
- Routine administration tasks — bill payment, payroll, ordering office supplies
- Responding to email & phone calls — yes, I schedule these!
How to schedule routine tasks
How you do this depends on how you prefer to manage your tasks. Consistency is important, find one system and work with it for a while before trying something new.
If you prefer paper, I suggest a tickler type system organized in groups. I have index cards for each day of the week as well as ones for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. This could also be a separate page in your notebook.
Here is a view of my index card system. Yes, it’s a mix of personal & business stuff. I go through it when I spend 5 minutes in the morning reviewing the day’s plan.
If you prefer digital, this can either be separate documents similar to the paper system or an app that helps you manage reoccurring tasks. I like systems that allow me to assign a group to a type of task — it doesn’t matter much if that’s called a project, a category, or a tag. It’s nice to be able to label in a manner like the paper system above. Software that helps me set different recurring intervals for each item is incredibly helpful, then I don’t need to do math or look at a calendar — it will automatically show up on the 3rd Wednesday of each month for example.
One step to take today
Identify one small routine task to help your business and find a time to work on it.
I added “edit blog post” to my Wednesday list (and “outline next week’s newsletter” to Friday’s).
What small task will you schedule today?