Accomplishing More Than A To-Do List

There never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish the things on my to-do list. Every day I am juggling getting the kids off to school, overseeing my staff, responding to a constant flow of emails and voicemails, managing schedules and the list just goes on and on. I often find myself asking how I am ever going to get it all done. Recently I started asking other entrepreneurs how they manage to accomplish everything on their to-do lists. The overwhelming reply was "I don't".

What a sigh of relief. I am not the only business owner with unfinished tasks. So why do I and so many other business owners get so worked up about not checking off everything on our to-do lists?

Nearly two months ago I became so frustrated with not being able to complete my long laundry list of tasks. I started shortening the list. Then I'd add some simple task I knew I'd accomplish like, drink two bottles of water -- check, meet with my team -- check or make lunches -- check. Before I knew it, I was finishing more tasks than I had ever imagined. I was really feeling good about myself.

The fact-of-the-matter is, I was completing these tasks everyday despite putting them on my check list. As I looked at my lists, I started to notice I was completing more than I was giving myself credit for. Even before adding the easy to accomplish tasks, I had been doing more than I was not doing. Every day we set out to accomplish a specific set of tasks. Yet we easily forget about all the other stuff that we do in between.

More importantly I realized that the world did not come to an end because I did not complete everything on the task list. What a revelation. I actually am accomplishing more and I am not doing any major harm if I don't do everything. That's what I call a win-win.

Instead of focusing on what we did not do, let's start paying some attention to what we did do. I'm sure you'll learn that you are accomplishing more than you think. With the right priorities, you may even realize that not every task on the to-do list is as vital as we think in the grand scheme of things. At the end of each day, I do what I need to do and then some. As long as the world does not come to an end then I have done more than enough.

This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.