How to Use Your Christmas Gift: "The New To-Do List" Task Management System

The New Task Management To Do List COVERThe New To-Do List Task Management System.pdf

Have you noticed that our top priorities - the things that make the biggest difference to us and our businesses - are usually the most challenging tasks? They involve us learning, stretching ourselves outside our comfort zones - and so what happens for many of us is that we avoid or procrastinate over doing them!

So many people want "more time" to grow their businesses but then avoid doing what moves them forwards (myself included here - see my personal revelation about how I procrastinate!). But, if we are willing to get really clear on what our top priorities are, write them out AND review them regularly - it gives us clarity, focus, more incentive to work on them and less excuses to procrastinate and avoid doing them! Most of us have actions we know we should be doing, but have been putting off. Well, 2015 is the year for you to change all that!

PLEASE NOTE: This task management system is available as a coaching exercise/form here >>. This article describes the task management framework to help you plan your week and get stuff done.

How to Use "The New To-Do List" Task Management System

This task management system works on a "work first on what matters most" basis, because when you regularly work on what really matters - your business grows in leaps and bounds!

This Simple System in Brief:

  1. A Weekly Task Planner (as the name suggests) to use once a week. Identify your top 3-5 priorities, track upcoming actions and ideas, remember personal actions (eg. birthday reminders, pay bills, exercise class) and identify what to delegate/get help with.
  2. A Daily Task Planner (as the name suggests) to use once a day. Identify your "Big Project" task/s, "Filler" tasks and personal tasks for that day. List your Top 3 Priorities that week at the top of the form to keep you focused when planning your day.

Page 1) Your Weekly Task Planner

  1. Start by scheduling a regular time to plan your week's activities. For me, it's first thing Monday morning, but you may prefer Friday afternoon or Sunday night. Allow 15-30 minutes.
  2. Use last week's Weekly Task Worksheet and make sure you transfer across any incomplete tasks and the items you identified as "Next Week's Big Priorities".
  3. Now complete this week's Weekly Task Planner worksheet following the instructions under each heading.
  4. Start with your "Big Project Tasks", then your "Filler" Tasks (*see below for explanation of Filler Tasks), completing the rest of the boxes in whatever order you like.
  5. Now you're clear on your priorities - what you're working on this week.
    NOTE: You'll refer to this worksheet daily when completing your Daily Task Planner.

BE FLEXIBLE: Sometimes Life and Business will get "in the way" - an unplanned opportunity, a long lunch with a friend who you haven't seen in years, an urgent life or business situation. That's OK. These task planners are not supposed to be rigid! They are there to focus your mind, to help you prioritise and work on what's most important first. If something comes up - it just shifts to the next day or week. It's that simple.

Page 2) Daily Task Planner

  1. Start by scheduling a regular time to plan your day's activities. For me, it's first thing each morning, but you may prefer the afternoon or night before. Allow 5-15 minutes.
  2. At the start of the week, be sure to list out your Top 3 Priorities at the top of this worksheet, before looking at your daily tasks.
  3. Each day prior to starting work, complete the boxes for the day in question. Refer to this week's Weekly Task Planner, review your diary for the day (factoring in any meetings, client sessions and commitments you have) AND review yesterday's tasks, making sure to bring forward any incomplete tasks.
  4. Start with your "Big Project" task for the day - then identify up to 3 "Filler" Tasks (*see below for explanation of Filler Tasks). Include important personal tasks (like renewing insurance, paying bills, birthdays, exercise plans etc!)
  5. Now, whenever you sit down to work on your business during the day, refer to this Daily Task Planner - and work on the priorities you've identified!

Daily Task Planner Tips:

  • OPTION: You can plan out your entire week of daily tasks in one sitting (eg. Monday morning) using this daily planner. If you do, I recommend you do it in pencil, so you can easily update / change each day to reflect what happened the day before - transferring incomplete items and adding anything new that comes up.
  • Don't overdo it! Check your diary and think about what you are likely to achieve given your pre-existing commitments. Working on one big project task and 1-3 filler tasks per day may be enough.
  • If you have a very busy day, skip the "Big Project" Tasks and plan to do "Filler Tasks" ONLY (even just one!) to move your business forwards.

* What are "FILLER" Tasks? These are tasks that can be done in (around) 30 minutes (or less) that move you forwards. Perhaps it's preparing for and making that initial email or phonecall regarding a joint venture, or it could be following up with that potential client, submitting your article to that blog or making those tweaks to your sales/social media page. They can be standalone tasks or smaller tasks of a bigger project that have been chunked down. It could be important tweaks, essential admin, or those final steps to actually finish something!

"We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret or disappointment." Jim Rohn

In Summary: The biggest obstacle many of us face is a perceived lack of time. And while this task management system won't add more hours to your day, it will help you effectively "have more time" by being more focused (and therefore more productive) with the time you have. By identifying specific tasks daily that map to our key priorities - and completing them! - you will achieve more, growing your business at a much faster rate!

NOTE: This tool has now been updated and is now available as a brandable product you can use with your clients! Learn more this How to Use this Time Management Tool here (that gets clients closer to their goals EVERY single day!)

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Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>


  1. Doc

    Thank you for your gracious and kind acts. Appreciate ALL that you make available and pass on to me.

  2. Olga

    I would like to thank you for sharing and putting in efforts for useful tool and easy to work with formats.


    • Emma-Louise

      Thank-you for commenting Sandra! So glad you like our coaching tools and find them helpful! Keep up all YOUR good work. Warmly, Emma-Louise

  3. Judy Papio Mastracchio

    I have found that ALL of Emma-Louise's coaching tools are by far the best for my practice. They help me motivate and keep my clients on track with simple, easy-to-follow forms that compel them to take the time to record what they've done and what they need to do.
    Absolutely one of the very best investments I've made in my practice!


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