Upgrading the office computer software.

Increasing your business’ social media presence.

Going through all paperwork and making digital copies.

The above three chores are the kind of tasks that tend to sit on a small business owner’s to-do list for months, if not years, on end. You may have experienced similar issues: you know the task is important, and you know you should do it… but you never quite get around to actioning the solution.

If the above sounds familiar to your experience, then it may feel like these problematic tasks will languish on your to-do list forever, an example of a great intention that never quite reached its promise – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Not when you realise that every stubborn task on your to-do list can be ticked off with just three simple steps…

STEP ONE: Use phases

Sometimes, stubborn to-do list entries are difficult to achieve as they do not have a definitive end point – they are more concepts, overall approaches than a self-contained entity. For example, if your task is to ‘increase social media presence’, how can you ever really declare this finished? It’s a constant process that will need continual refinement.

To manage this, introduce phases for each task. If you’re seeking to increase your social media presence, you could say that ten guest blog posts must have been completed and submitted in one month’s time. By breaking a large, nebulous task into phases, they become more manageable. You may never be able to fully tick the overall task off your to-do list absolutely, but you can tick off each distinct phase.

STEP TWO: Block off time

If you are going to complete this task (or phase of the task), you will need time to dedicate to achieving it. Pick a date a few weeks in the future, then diarize as much time as possible to solely dedicate yourself to resolving the issue. With a clear schedule, you should be able to make decisions regarding the resolution of the task/phase and fully focus on ensuring it is completed to your satisfaction.

STEP THREE: Get the help you need

One of the main reasons that tasks tend to linger on a to-do list is that they are not easily achieved. Reminding yourself to change the office coffee filter is easy; you can tick that off in a few minutes and move on with your day. However, more complex to-do list items like building a social media presence for your company or upgrading your IT software are far more time-consuming, which tends to mean they are left in situ on your to-do list for months on end.

This problem is best addressed by obtaining the help you need to resolve the issue once and for all. This could mean asking an employee for help; outsourcing to a specialist agency who can assist you with online computers support and consulting solutions as needed, or hiring a marketing executive – essentially, do whatever it takes to address the issue head-on.

In conclusion


If you have added a task to your to-do list, then it’s fair to assume that it’s important, and something that will benefit your business. Rather than allowing it to sit, untouched and incomplete, address the matter once and for all by going through the three steps designed above. Good luck!