How to Make Checklists: The Ultimate Tool to Save Time (With Examples) - Deepstash

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Good checklist

In general, a good checklist is:

  • Precise
  • Efficient
  • To the point
  • Easy to Use
  • Simple (just enough)

On the other hand, bad checklists are:

  • Vague
  • Imprecise
  • Long
  • Impractical
  • Too complex to use

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To do lists

To do lists

Oftentimes, to-do lists are disguised as bad checklists.

This is not a checklist. This is a to-do list with checkboxes.

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Making Checklists

You want to create checklists for systematic tasks.

Write down the process from start to finish as you remember it . Assume you’re creating a workflow for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the work so it is as simple as possible. This will force you to think of all the steps that you need to complete for each activity.

Review and update:

  • Eliminate . Remove unnecessary information. The flow should be as simple as possible
  • Add detail . Some steps might require a more thorough description.
  • Simplify . A checklist should be simple and easy to follow
  • Reorder . Shuffle things around if it makes more sense

Testing your checklist in the real world is a fundamental step, no matter how careful you were writing it.

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Use a checklist

You can choose between 2 methods of checklist utilization :

  • Do-Confirm. Performing the task by memory and experience and then stop to read and confirm with the checklist
  • Read-Do. Performing the task while checking the checklist at the same time

The Do-Confirm checklists are more efficient in simpler tasks where you use the checklist to not forget any item.

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Bennefits of checklists

Using checklists will improve your work and increase your productivity. No more wasted time trying to remember what to do next.

Start using checklists and you will have all these bonus side effects:

  • Organization. By making sure you’re not skipping any steps, you’ll stay more organized. You won’t have to go back all the time to check if something “fell between the cracks.”
  • Accountability and responsibility . When something goes wrong, you’re able to pinpoint where and when in the process the error happened
  • Avoid distractions . If you only do the tasks in the list, you’ll be forced to avoid distractions
  • Motivation. Checklists are powerful because they make us take action
  • Discipline and consistency . Checklists always assure that the process gets done the correct way. And if there’s a mistake, you’ll be able to find it easily
  • Productivity . This is no surprise. If you do your tasks more quickly, efficiently, and with fewer mistakes, you’ll have more time for your other assignments
  • Delegation. Delegating tasks will be infinitely easier. With a guide to follow, there’s less room for mistakes and you’ll feel more confident

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