Bits and Pieces...
The checklist is the stereotypical passion of the typical “type A” personalities. These individuals (ahem — me) are usually the ones you see wandering around the office supplies store looking for the next best organizational gadgets.

Yet, I’m gonna be a control freak and say it — checklists are underrated and underused as a business tool for most of us.

Many business owners think they have their job “down.” But no matter how well you do your job, you should consider using checklists to prioritize and ensure execution of your tasks.

Ahhhh but some key benefits of creating checklists include:

  • Prioritization, leading to increased effectiveness and efficiency
  • Ability to see where you can delegate tasks
  • Proof of productivity — a feeling of truly “completing” something and being in control
  • Relief of frustration or worrying that you’ll forget something
  • No excuses for procrastination!

If you’ve never created a checklist before, it might sound like a daunting task to create a checklist, but it actually goes quickly once the ideas start coming out.

To help prioritize your life as one integrated entity, one tip is to create a daily checklist that includes both personal and work tasks. If you don’t, it’s too easy to let personal tasks go to the bottom and actually never get completed, particularly as small business owners who non-stop and often work where they live. The lines can get blurry, so it’s helpful to bring all of your actual tasks to life in one organized place.

The Checklist Solution
In talking to a number of successful professionals, we’ve found one checklist solution to be extremely helpful.

  • Grab a notebook or paper pad you are comfortable with and create three columns on the page
  • Label the first column: Today
  • Label the second column: Tomorrow
  • Label the third column: Rest of week

Take a few minutes at the start of your day to list out the various tasks into these three columns. Even include items that seem routine — by making a checklist, you keep routine life maintenance tasks top of mind and ensure they get completed.

As you go through your day, cross off the tasks you’ve completed. Then, at the end of the day before you’re going to bed, create your list for the next day, moving up “Tomorrow’s?” tasks to the “Today” column and bringing any “Rest of week” items into the other two columns as appropriate.

Also, this time is perfect to see if there were any “Today” tasks that weren’t accomplished and why. Perhaps these are tasks that can be delegated to someone else, or maybe they are tasks that should be in another column. — Don’t beat yourself up just see what might be standing in your way as a barrier and how you might be able to overcome it moving forward.

Obviously there other forms of checklists that work better for some than others. For some, making a checklist might seem old hat, simple, a given. For others, it is an entirely new way of thinking. Most important is to make your system — and your life — work for you.

photo credit: koalazymonkey

One Response to “OCD is cool – The Power of a Great Checklist”
  1. OCD is cool – The Power of a Great Checklist

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