Seldom, we all find ourselves in situations where our workload is too overwhelming, and we regularly miss out on important tasks or information. Therefore, checklists are essential. Checklists not only help us in organizing our tasks but also ensures that there are little to no errors.
What is a Checklist?
Checklists are one of the most effective and efficient organizational tools in history, and when used well can aid in moving through tasks quickly and easily. A checklist is a breakdown of the tasks that need to be completed by either yourself or your team. It is one of the most operative ways of ensuring that every person is on the same page with what needs to be completed and by when.
A checklist systematically organizes items and provides one with an overview of what tasks they must complete rather than relying on their memory.
How it Keeps You Organized and Progressive
- One of the best ways of making sure that all tasks have been completed is by using a checklist. Checklists not only help in organizing tasks but also creates ownership, sets deadlines and expectations as to when the project/task will get finished by.
- Checklists are fundamental in ensuring that business operations are handled with utmost precision to ensure maximum productivity as they help break down tasks into smaller, manageable chunks.
- Checklists also offer one a serious dose of productivity-related positive reinforcement. As one checks off tasks, they get a surge of accomplishment, which in turn inspires them to keep going, thereby increasing the overall productivity in the process.
- A checklist is also a great way to foster competition among your employees. As they strive to complete tasks, they may compete on how fast one will finish their tasks. This, in turn, increases the overall productivity of your business.
- Finally, by using a checklist regularly, you will be able to decrease the mental load you may require to remember all the micro-tasks that you need to complete every day.
What should you include in your Checklist?
There are different types of checklists that one can use, depending on the task at hand. The primary contents of a checklist include:
- Date Due
- Date Completed
Types of Checklist
The first step you must take before putting together a checklist is to understand the different types of checklists. Having the right Checklist not only increases your efficiency in handling the tasks but also ensures that you are well organized in managing your time.
The main types of checklists are:
- Daily Checklist: a daily checklist is a comprehensive list of all the tasks you need to complete in a single day. This type of Checklist usually depends on the type of activity being done. If you don’t finish a task before the end of the day, you can simply schedule it for the next day.
- Situation Checklist: this type of Checklist features tasks that are specific to an event or area of your life. For instance, when creating a to-do list for a baby shower or a wedding, you might consider using a situation checklist. Basically, a situation checklist is meant for events that may take longer to complete.
How to Create a Checklist
Irrespective of whether you are planning on using a daily or a situational checklist for an activity, the process of creating a checklist remains the same.
Step 1: Do a “brain dump.”
The very first step to making an effective checklist is to do a “brain dump” and to note down every task and to-do that comes across your mind.
Think of all the activities that you will be carrying out to complete a task or a project and note them down on paper. It is important to note down the time such activities will be undertaken. If you are creating a daily checklist, you may want to list down all the repetitive activities as well as any upcoming one-off tasks that you’ll need to work into your daily schedule.
Step 2: Organize and prioritize tasks
After creating a simple draft of all the tasks, the next step is to organize and prioritize the tasks.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to look at all the tasks and organize them in a way that makes sense. For instance, you may want to organize the tasks based on their frequency, type, or by how the tasks relate to your life.
After organizing the tasks, the next thing you must do is to rank the tasks based on their priority. Look into each task and rank it on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most prioritized tasks and 1 being those tasks that are less urgent in as much as they are essential.
When it comes to prioritizing tasks, there is no right or wrong way of ranking the tasks. It all depends on the urgency of the tasks.
Step 3: Put them on your to-do list
The next step after organizing and prioritizing your tasks is to assemble them in an actual checklist.
Note down your tasks in order of priority. It is important to note down the date or time you anticipate to have the activities completed. For instance, a daily task might have a task that says, “Draft and Send your CV by 2 pm,” while a situational checklist might have a task that says “Schedule the plumber by August 30th.”
Step 4: Check off each item as soon as you complete it
After creating and listing down all the tasks you plan to accomplish, the next thing is to start working your way through the listed tasks and ensure that all the items listed are checked off as soon as you complete them. Marking the tasks that you have managed to complete will not only boost your drive to keep going but also help you keep track of what you have managed to accomplish and what still needs to be done.
Step 5: Continue adding items as soon as they come up
When doing an activity, you may get an idea that you may want to try out or maybe something that you had forgotten to include in the list. As soon as you get an idea, it is important to add it to your to-do list so that you don’t end up forgetting what it was. The beauty of using a checklist is that as more tasks come up, all you need to do is to add it on the list and keep moving forward.
Free Checklist Templates
Examples of Checklists
Checklists vary depending on the type of activity being undertaken. Some of the activities that may require the use of a checklist include:
Buying a House (Home Inspection Checklist)
When planning on buying a house, it is important to have a to-do list or a home inspection checklist. This is due to the various activities that you will have to undertake during the purchase process, such as contacting your real estate agent, securing funds, signing of the lease, and assessing the house. With some of the activities being minor while others being very important to make a great first impression, it is important to use a checklist to make sure that you keep track of all the activities.
Just like buying a house, moving can be very tiresome and generally requires detailed planning and logistics. Creating a moving checklist is not only a great way of making sure that the process runs smoothly but also ensuring that you don’t forget any important tasks during the process of moving.
The process of planning a wedding can be very stressful for all the parties involved. Having a checklist is an exceptional way of organizing the tasks and ensuring that the process runs smoothly.
When traveling across town or the world, there are many things that you may need to get done when preparing for the trip. Making a comprehensive travel checklist of all the tasks you will be undertaking is an excellent way of ensuring that your trip goes off without a hitch.
When a baby is on the way, there are various activities that you may need to do, such as shopping for all the baby necessities. Having a baby checklist will help you knock through all your pre-baby tasks before the baby comes.
To be honest, there are countless possibilities where having a checklist can help you to be more organized, optimal, and progressive. It is a good habit to create a checklist for such tasks and start marking it from top to the end until the task in hand is completed.