I used to be the queen of to-do lists. I would write list after list in an effort to organize everything that I needed to get done. I would even feel this compulsion to continually add new tasks; somehow this made me feel like I was being more productive. 

The problem was that I never seemed to ever complete my to-do lists; I would even find myself rewriting the list or coming up with extraneous tasks that just perpetuated the horrible habit of procrastination. I was really busy, but I certainly did not feel productive – and my business was paying the price. 

After trying several different strategies, I ultimately found three habits that became pivotal for my personal and business productivity. Here are my three weekly productivity habits that are now non-negotiables for me: 

1. Every Sunday I spend 1-2 hours mapping-out the upcoming week. 
If I don't spend the time on Sunday to map-out the coming week I inevitably feel like I have a harder time staying on top of my business. Feeling organized and in command of my schedule is a game changer for my business (and personal sanity). Try committing one day weekly to map-out your week so you leave nothing to chance and get the most meaningful actions done. 

2. Use the "Tickler File System" instead of working off of a list.
If you're not familiar with the "Tickler File System" – in short, it's a method of organizing that assigns tasks to a specific day, month and/or time (law offices in the early twentieth century started this system in order to remind them of important dates like filing for patents, etc.). Instead of just adding the task to a list, assign it to a specific day and/or time that you know you're able to focus on it. Simply adding it to a list is like stacking another sheet onto an already unorganized stack of papers – there is no priority and the lack of organization can become overwhelming and unproductive. 

On Sundays when I'm mapping-out my week, I "brain dump" everything I need to get done and organize tasks by the major categories of my business: marketing, client management, operations, accounting, team building, etc. I then block out my schedule with any appointments, meetings, classes, etc. Once I have my schedule laid-out, I fill the remaining timeslots with 2-4 of the major tasks that I’ve listed in my brain dump that will have the greatest impact on my business. Tasks that remain usually can be done in spare moments, be moved to the next week, or even better, be delegated. 

3. Make follow-through priority and let real life happen. 
I've found that committing to 2-4 major tasks or projects at most daily (depending on the time commitment of each and what else is on my schedule) keeps my days manageable and more importantly gives me that rush of achievement that then motivates me to keep moving forward to doing what has a direct impact on my business. Keeping a hyper-focused daily list also allows flexibility for inevitable unplanned situations or interruptions to happen without it taking me so far off my plan. 

Systematize your days and weeks the same way that you systematize your business. Try a few different strategies until you come up with your own productivity non-negotiables and watch your business and personal productivity skyrocket.