Planning and the Joy of Lists

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013


When I talk to small businesses it fast becomes apparent that most are sinking into a sea of red tape and are struggling to coping with simple admin tasks.

This was not how it was meant to be!

I just wanted to sell my designer jewelry!

I am a plumber by trade not a book keeper!

I love painting – I hate tax returns!

There is far too much to do – how am I going to find time for it all!!

I hope that all resonates.  If it does we are all “singing from the same hymn sheet” to use the well-known phrase.

However often getting swamped by admin is simply a result of bad planning and leaving things til the last minute.  In other words a lot of pain can be avoided by sitting down and quietly and methodically scheduling in tasks at certain times – avoiding over-crowding busy times and being sensible about when things actually have to be done for!

I, myself, sometimes feel overpowered by what simply must get done.  I want it all done at once and get nervous when it is not!  But I have to keep reminding myself that it is also very true to say that a journey is started with a single step and not by trying to run a marathon at the outset.


Here is what works for me and hopefully you will find this helpful as well.

First it is vital to create a good diary system listing “to do” items on a daily basis.  But recognize that on busy days it is also acceptable to have “nothing to do” as the “to do” item.  The secret is in recognizing workload and being sensible about how admin fits in with this.  This system can be created using pen and paper as well as on the computer by the more technologically savvy of us.  Go with what works for you!

Secondly it is important to break large tasks down in size – to make them manageable.  For example a “to do “ item of “sort out annual accounts” tends to induce panic as this is most definitely a big task – but an item “sort out April’s banking entries” scheduled over a couple of days is less overpowering and, as a consequence, less threatening – making it way more do-able in an allocated time slot.

Next schedule tasks sensibly and don’t overload – and remember, as I mentioned above, having no items to do in a day is also part of a good admin strategy.

Moving on, never be tempted to start a task before the time you have scheduled for it.  This is hard to do as minds tend to dart ahead and worry about tasks still to be done!  Trust me, if you have scheduled in the task sensibly, you really don’t have to worry about what you need to do until the time you have allotted for it. Be really strict with yourself on this.

It is also important that deadlines should be noted when you are scheduling tasks.  In my experience it is not a good idea to schedule tasks in just before a deadline in case there are problems and things go wrong.  A dose of flu can soon impact on anyone’s ability to meet a deadline.

But, remember as well, it is never too early to schedule in a task, even if the deadline is many weeks in advance

Finally don’t panic over not completing tasks on a “to do” list.  This is never the end of the world!!!  Just reschedule them sensibly.

And a final “finally”, schedule time off!  If you manage your time well there should be time for fun as well and scheduling this in will give you something to look forward to.

I hope these brief pearls of wisdom help you to cope with all the red tape!

Remember YUVA Consultants is available to help and support with all aspects of admin.

Get in touch to see what we can do for you.


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