My story with Dave, the kids, Cooper, VW's & rugby

The First Rule of Running a Busy Life

Well where do I start? There are many important factors to account for when you have a busy life and especially when you are running a business. There is one key ingredient for success and that is to stay organised. So what do you need to stay organised and on top of the day to day tasks and challenges? Simple .. grab yourself a pad and a pen and start to write a LIST.

A few years ago I used to get so stressed and worked up, always saying that I had so much to do and that my head was so full of lots of little thoughts about what I needed to do. It really used to drive me crazy. That was until Rich (ukgimp) suggested a book, which I can’t remember what the title was but I’ll find out, but even without getting past Chapter 3 it changed the way I focused on tasks. The basis of the theory in the book was to stop having these tasks revolving out of control in your head, but to get the tasks written down in a list, and then prioritise the list.

Every day I start off with a list, whether I need to get a proposal done, to set a project running, to speak to certain clients or even to pay the wages. Anything that I need to get done will be written in a list, and then prioritised. Any tasks from yesterdays list that didn’t get done will of course be high up on the new list.

Throughout the day I do get lots of distraction from phone calls, new enquiries, lots of emails and questions from the guys, but I still have to focus on the LIST. Throughout the day new items may be added to the list if they can’t get done straight away, but the goal is to get items crossed off the list. Normally my list would have say about 5 – 12 items on it at the start of the day and normally there would be 3 – 4 to move over onto tomorrows list depending on how big and time consuming the tasks are.

It may sound really obvious that you need to make a list to stay organised, but you’ll be surprised how unorganised people can be, but once you get into the habit of relying on a list that you can see all of the time it starts to make working life easier.

Added: Thanks to Joost de Valk for helping me out with the book title. I ended up checking my order history on Amazon and it was “Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress Free Productivity” by David Allen


  • James Inman

    I’ve done something similar to this – my whiteboard in my room has a column for everything I have to do (company / university / personal) and at the start of every day I make a column for “today”. It’s certainly one of the easiest ways to keep organised – and boost morale by knowing how much you’ve completed in a day.

  • Will Critchlow

    I love that book. It’s processes for handling email are also very useful.

    Another related subject: e-myth – have you read that? I think you’ll like it…