For a typical business owner it will be a wide range of things.
From the strategic to the tactical. From the long term to the shorter term and the downright urgent!
It strikes me that the contents of your 'To do' list can tell you a lot about how you are managing the business.
If the items on your 'To do' list are leaning more towards the tactical/short term/urgent, you are probably still at the 'Technician' phase of managing your business described by business guru Michael Gerber. You are still very hands on 'doing' and delivering the product or service to your customers. Strategy? Whats that? I haven't got time to breathe never mind think about being strategic!
If your 'To do' list content is more long term/strategic - recruiting a new senior employee, negotiating terms with a prospective new customer, looking at a new IT system to improve effectiveness etc you are probably in the Manager/Entrepreneur phase. You are thinking in the longer term and perhaps engineering how your business can continue without your day to day input. That is a much better place to be for a business owner.
Well that's all well and good but an urgent list is an urgent list and this stuff needs to get done!
That is true. When I get into overwhelm mode - it happens to us all from time to time, I review the list and set priorities. Is there anything on the list that can be delegated or deferred? With some tinkering, planning and thought the list can be made more manageable.
That sorts things out for the immediate future but what about the longer term?
If 'overwhelm mode' is the normal state of affairs for a business owner, some time needs to spent on thinking how things might be made more manageable over time. That might need some time out from the business to think things through and work out a plan. An external facilitator can help here to help you look at things afresh and bring new ideas.
So do think about this if you feel trapped by your jobs list. We all need plans and 'To do' lists. They are what move us forward. For business owners, your list should be motivational and moving you towards a longer term goal.
If that's not the case with your list, it's time for action.