If you are looking for a great organizational tool look no further than the checklist! Whether it is written on a piece of paper, keyed into a document or tapped into a smart phone, nothing beats a nice orderly list to help us stay on track in both our business and professional lives.
We all use a checklist of some sort, whether we consciously think of it or not. Grocery lists, schedules, household chores, tasks at work, Christmas gifts, car maintenance, tracking bill payments, etc are all forms of checklists which are invaluable in our day to day lives.
Formalized checklists are used in all professions. Imagine if a pilot forgot a step when preparing for take-off; or a surgeon missed a step on his checklist before closing up a patient; or the contractor building homes skipped a step in his process. In these instances- and many others-following proper procedure (aka a checklist) ensures our safety.
Checklists can be pretty basic but if you are creating one for someone else to follow there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Each step needs to be clear and concise- there should be no need to ask questions about the listed items.
Group the steps by type- this will make the items flow better and allow the person following the checklist to be more productive; it will also avoid the “I’ll come back to this one” trap (we seldom go back).
- Each item should require a specific action. Rather than saying ‘Clean the kitchen’ more concise steps should be used: scrub sink, clean oven, wash floors. This will also ensure that all steps are completed and the larger, overall task was not misunderstood.
- Checklists are a specific list of tasks to be accomplished in a particular order within a pre-determined timeframe. Simply put- checklists help us to remember stuff and hold us accountable to get the stuff done!
One of the best things about a checklist is the sense of accomplishment we feel when we add that check mark to the box, or cross the item off our list.
Write blog post- check!