Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Why To-Do Lists are Key to Entrepreneur Success

focus-focus-focusWhy is focus such a big deal as an online entrepreneur?

What do you to to help you focus on the task at hand?

Have you seen increased productivity as you find ways to focus?

I’ve been in the world of entrepreneurship way before I even knew what the word meant.  As I was doing research a few weeks ago on Aaron Wall and his entrepreneurial background it made me think about my early business endeavors, of which I’ll talk about at another time…FOCUS! 🙂

Focus is so key to the success of your online business.  The hardest thing for me to deal with as an internet mentor and consultant is when a client jumps at every fly in the sky idea.  Granted, we ALL WANT TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE!  That’s a no-brainer!  But the bottom line is, those that focus on small targeted ideas are going to get there much quicker than the “Wal-Mart” approach to starting an online business – selling anything and everything.

Here’s one of the best reminders I read in an article about focus:

23. To-Do List Before Bed

How To Stay Focused: I write down my to do list right before bed. If I don’t, I’ll lie awake going over what I have to do, and worry that I’ll forget something in the morning. Writing it down clears my head, and when I wake up in the morning, the list is ready for me, which motivates me to get started right away.

Well, there is the answer you’ve all been waiting for…

Focus, Focus, Focus!

As an entrepreneur, focus can be one of the biggest challenges we all face.  As I read the article about how to stay focused the concept of creating a nightly To-Do List really hit home.  The above point was the one I decided to implement immediately.

Why To-Do Lists Help Me Succeed

  1. Creating a To-Do List is the simple way of creating the dreaded “Business Plan”: to me, “business plans” are just fancy ways to talking about day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year GOALS.  Maybe it’s because I’ve bootstrapped all my online businesses to this point and have never relied on “venture capital”…What are your thoughts on this matter?
  2. As I create a To-Do List in the evening, I sleep better:  the worst thing that happens to me at night is when my mind starts spinning with ideas.  I think that’s why I’m a night owl and blog until wee hours of the morning.  As I create a To-Do List, I can write everything down somewhere and be done for the day.  Not only does it help clear my mind, but it also opens my mind to new ideas that I can add to the list in the morning.  Plus, quality sleep can be a key component of productivity the next day.
  3. Time management and organization equal increased success: “Small success leads to Big Success!”  If I’m running every which way I generally get very little relevant work done.  Sure, I can check my email 30 times, clean out my junk mail, empty the trash bin, or check my StumbleUpon suggested links, but all that can be done in a short time and not throughout the day.  The more organized I become, the more I get done – it’s that simple.

Questions about Focus

How do you stay focused on the things that are most important for your online business (or do you)?

What strategies do you use to help you stay focused?

Have you tried the suggestion about about creating a To-Do List at night?

How is it working for you?

What else has worked for you?

30 Day Challenge

I am publicly challenging myself and all MollerMarketing readers to a 30 Day Challenge.  The challenge is this:

  • I will create a To-Do List every night for the next 30 days.
  • The To-Do List will be created before midnight every night.
  • I will write this To-Do List in a place where I can either print it off, view it easily, or keep an ongoing record of my results.
  • I will monitor my progress and blog about this progress every Friday on or before noon at (this means I will start tomorrow and blog about my initial results on this Friday)


I invite all of you to participate in this challenge.  In fact, I’d love a few of you to guest post with me and let us all know how things are going in your quest for better focus as an online entrepreneur.

Stay tune…

    26 replies on “Why To-Do Lists are Key to Entrepreneur Success”

    Nate, I couldn’t agree more. My wife is a todo list freak. I know todo lists are the key to getting things done. Along with todos, I recommend creating a schedule to accomplish your todo lists in. I know when working online, especially with online marketing it’s easy to get distracted. I actually wrote an article today that supports exactly what you’ve said. Resurrecting Productivity.

    Thanks Buttars! Thanks goodness for wifes who keep us in line! Mine is the same way – she’s all about schedule and getting things done even before they’re due.

    Thanks for the article about productivity – I’ll check it out.

    Let me know how the challenge works for you.

    I prefer a handwritten todo list as it allows me to use a “circle” approach to tracking progress, and has the added satisfaction of being able to cross things off:

    O = not started
    Ø = started/partly completed
    • = completed (imagine the first circle coloured in)

    I use an A4 notebook and usually start the week with 1 side of to dos. As the week progresses this usually turns into 2 sides of to dos. By the end of the week I’ve usually finished 3/4 of the todo items – if there are any leftovers, I’ll add them to the new sheet for the following week.

    I’ll highlight important todos with a ! and using this method has allowed me to be very productive – it’s a great feeling to get to the end of the week and see 2 sides of A4 ticked off as being complete, and even if everything isn’t achieved, it allows you to plan the following week much more easily.


    What a great comment! Thanks for the specific tips. I will take careful note of this and implement it in my 30 day challenge.


    Thanks again for your method to the entrepreneur madness!

    If you’re looking for a digital solution use Reminder Fox, you can sort by date and you can also mark things off by marking complete.

    Reminder Fox is a firefox extension.

    I work best off a ‘to do’ list and have for years. There is just something about being able to check off one thing after another that helps me stay on task. This works day to day as well as for long-term goals. I think the ‘hardest’ part for most people is getting started with it and making it a habit. I also am at a point in my life where I have to write down ideas/tasks or I forget them!

    Great to hear from you Maria! I thought at some point in life I’d be over the need to write things down 🙂 Hopefully this 30 day challenge will help me form habits that will pay off long-term.

    Thanks again for the comment. I hope to talk to you soon!

    I did my first official “To-Do List” this evening right before midnight online on a personal blog but in the future I think I’ll create a spreadsheet or something, type the list up, and then print it out so I can put it somewhere at my desk during the day to remind me.

    I really liked Scott Bowler’s ideas and hope to use those.

    Thanks for the comment! Welcome to Moller Marketing!

    Hi Nate, I’m a firm believer in the power of ‘focus’ and to-do-lists. The only trouble is I’m a multi-tasker by nature. I have to fight the urge because multi-tasking saps your creativity. This is a great article, thanks.

    Thanks for the comment Patricia! I think the real answer all entrepreneurs need is how to FOCUS and MULTI-Task at the same time. We all have to multi-task – the problem for me has been that, I start focused, something comes up, I attempt to “multi-task” and then get pulled in to other worthless things that waste part of my day.

    Let me know what you do to focus and multi-task.

    Talk soon!

    Hi Nate
    I have been writing lists for years and I am still a pencil and paper kind of guy. It helps me to remember things when I take the time to write them down. I keep my list with me and
    scratch things off as I accomplish them. I like the idea of writing them down at night as you suggest. I usually write mine in the am: and I am the type to stay awake in bed thinking of all the things I need to do. If I wasn’t making lists for myself I would be going in circles most of the time.I prioritize my list by deciding what is the most important to the least important. I don’t always finish each list by I get the important stuff done. thanks

    Thanks for the comment John! I’ve seen first hand how my productivity is directly affected by how consistent I am to a To-Do List.

    I feel, when I’m being most effective, the To-Do List is crucial. Keep me posted on your progress too!

    I agree that to be productive and efficient a certain amount of planning is required. Compiling a to do list is key to keeping a track of your tasks and goals. When you have created your list the next thing to do is prioritise them. Concentrating on 1 or 2 tasks at a time will allow you to keep focused. The best thing about a to do list is crossing your tasks off as you do them and the scene of achievement that comes with it!

    I just started a business with my fiance, and I’m a firm believer in the to-do list. Here’s a tip, though. Plan out as much of your week as you can, but write it out. Make sure that you space out each day pretty evenly, then if a day “fills up” make sure you move new tasks to a new day. That’s what keeps me from having to-do overload.

    I don’t know about other people, but writing it by hand sets it in stone for me. Then it also doesn’t matter if it looks sloppy at the end of the week. I have a bad tendency to use my list as a little sketch paper, though…the downfall of being a designer.

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