There are plenty of things you could do to improve your productivity and just work more efficiently, but one of the easiest things you can start with is simply creating a checklist.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to forget things. Sometimes we just didn’t pay enough attention when we were supposed to; or our brains didn’t move a bit of information from the short-term memory to the long-term memory; or maybe we have so much to do that some tasks get “overwritten” in our minds.
No matter what the reason, forgetting is something we’ve all experienced, and it can really throw a wrench in our plans when you overlook a even one of its less important components. This is where checklists come in, and the fact that they remove your (mostly) unreliable memory out of the equation is what makes them so useful.
You see, paper doesn’t have to worry about remembering stuff, and neither does a computer (although, of course, you could lose your notes or the information on your computer, but that shouldn’t happen if you’ve even a bit careful). So if you create a checklist and look at it before actually taking action, there’s little to no chance you’re going to overlook something important. And there are other benefits, too: sometimes the simple act of putting your course of action to writing can expose flaws in your planning; also, writing stuff down can help you remember things more easily.
The most basic tool you need to create a checklist is a piece of paper. You can either use a notebook, or Post-It notes, which you can then place in plain sight to make sure you don’t forget what you have to do.
Creating a checklist if by no means difficult, but you think you need a bit of help (or you simply want to go digital instead of using paper) you can always find plenty of great tools to do it. Microsoft’s OneNote is a great example of this. It features keyboard shortcuts, embedded files, and links to other Microsoft programs and tools, making it great for keeping track of various to-do lists. Wunderlist is another great tool with loads of functionalities you can sync across all of your devices.
Sometimes you don’t need an app to help you organize and get things done – a simple printed piece of paper might suffice. Well, there are apps to help you with that, too. Printable Checklist and Checklist.com are a couple of great examples.
And perhaps the simplest thing of all – just create your own checklist using Microsoft Word! All you have to know how to do is create a bulleted list. Click on the arrow next to the list button, and then select Define new bullet. Next, click on Font and then Wingdings, and finally go to Symbol and select the empty square.
Now all you have to do is type in your list and print it. Since you’ve chosen the empty square as your “bullet,” you now have a checkbox next to each item (that’s why they call it a checklist!). Actually using a pen to check those boxes after completing each task can be a lot more satisfying than doing this on your smartphone, so there’s definitely something to this course of action, especially if you prefer going “old-school.”
Whether it’s a simple Notepad file you keep on your desktop, a list you’ve created using Microsoft Word and then printed out, or an app like Evernote or Trello with their many features and capabilities, a checklist can be an invaluable tool in your day-to-day activities. We hope this article has convinced you of their worth and you will start using them from now on – and reaping the benefits, too!