In the professional world, checklists are a huge component to the daily work of pilots and surgeons. Detailed step-by-step checklists help fight complacency in the cockpit, and maintain safe operation of the aircraft during all phases of flight, from gate to gate. In hospitals, medical teams use checklists to ensure surgical procedures go smoothly.
Keeping a properly structured and thought-out checklist sounds simple enough. But it can be surprising how many people fail to use them at all, never mind use them effectively. In fact, it’s often when people start to use them effectively and sensibly that they make their first personal productivity breakthroughs, and start making a success of their careers. The video, below, gives some tips on how you can start to use To-Do Lists more effectively.
Although using a paper checklist is an easy way to get started, software-based approaches can be more efficient in spite of the learning curve. These can remind you of events or tasks that will soon be overdue, they can also be synchronized with your phone or email, and they can be shared with others on your team, if you’re collaborating on a project.
Write down all of the tasks that you need to complete on the checklist. If they’re large tasks, break out the first action step, and write this down with the larger task. (Ideally, tasks or action steps should take no longer than 1-2 hours to complete.)