Feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list? Start Here.


Confession 1: I’m a to-do list junkie

I have six to-do lists on my desk right now in various forms. Stick Notes. Notepads. Todoist. Notebooks. Evernote.

Having these many to-do lists serves no purpose for me. It keeps me busily bouncing from one list to the next, attempting to complete tasks. However, instead of ripping through these lists and ticking off chores like a champ, I become overwhelmed and can’t make any progress on ANYTHING.

Instead of addressing my to-do list like a grown-up, I’ve been drowning in half-baked projects and a busy brain that can’t focus on anything for the week. I presently have no less than 5 blog pieces in draft stage that I simply cannot commit to finishing because new ideas keep coming to me. I jump from one task to the next, unable to complete a simple task. Having said that, I did manage to get groceries today, which felt like a great victory.

Confession 2: I didn’t plan ahead of time to write a blog article for this week

As a content marketer, this is equivalent to committing a huge sin. I should have known better! It’s usually better to write ahead of time, have everything set up, and then focus on distribution and promotion on publish day. Instead, I’m rushing to finish this post before the end of the day.

While it’s critical for me to stick to my publishing schedule, I saved this chore until last today. And now I’ll get to my point:

When your to-do list gets overwhelming, start with a task that generates revenue for your business

This may sound counterintuitive, but when getting anything done feels like climbing Mount Everest and a mere meal prep feels like a feat worthy of an Olympic medal, it’s critical to finish the tasks that will make you money this week.

This is the classic saying of “working ON your business rather than IN it.

Today, I could have prioritized creating a blog post with a spectacular content update to expand my list and sharing on social media – mind you this IS an important goal for me and the success of my freelance business. But I was trapped and might easily have spent 6 hours doing this without making a penny.

Instead, I’ve decided to focus my efforts today on two areas that WILL generate revenue for my business. For a new client, I drafted a contract and my first invoice. I made a proposal for another prospective client. In addition, I completed a project for another client. All of these are money-making opportunities with a quick payoff.

Now that I’ve completed these responsibilities, my mind is free to focus on writing and interacting with others on social media. Crossing a task off of your to-do list, especially one that will provide some cash flow, is a terrific way to reclaim your creativity and focus.

Prioritizing to-do lists is not easy

We all have a million things to do, and they all seem equally vital at times. When this happens, I always choose the work that creates revenue and keeps my business running. Then I’m free to move on to marketing or brand-building duties, and my mind is at ease knowing that I’ve served a client or done something to bring on a new one that day.

The takeaway: choose your most important task, preferably one that will yield an immediate return, such as sending out a new proposal or following up with a potential client, and complete it. Once finished, you may start to focus on the other assignments that require your attention.

Q/A Session: What do you do when your to-do list spirals out of control? How do you set priorities?

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Hey there!

I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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