5 reasons to use checklists for organizing your mind and space
I believe that having routines helps you to accomplish things using less energy. It automates chores and tasks that need to be done regularly to keep an office or home organized. If one person has routines for the tasks the system works. That person will get burnt out doing all the work. Delegating the work is the key. How do you delegate work that is in someone’s mind?
Checklists can be used for many reasons.
- to make a process repeatable
- to clarify a task for another person
- to schedule tasks to be completed at regular intervals
- to reduce what you need to remember
I have many tasks that I do infrequently or that I am learning. I set up a checklist with all steps I need to do so I don’t forget one. The checklist takes the stress out of completing the task. I don’t need to figure out how to do it each time. The checklist will become refined after each use when I realize I left out a step or I have found an easier way to do it.
Some examples are:
Collecting income tax records:
- material needs to be gathered from a number of institutions,
- forms need to be filed,
- receipts need to be organized,
- copies made,
Setting up meetings:
- agendas prepared
- reports requested to be compiled/ submitted ahead of time for the meeting
- meeting notice was sent with the current date, time, location and attachments
- set-up meeting room in-person or virtual
- take meeting minutes
- meeting minutes sent out to attendees
- follow up on items to be completed by participants
Social media posting
- list hyperlinks to social media sites so I don’t need to look them up each time
- record steps on how to post to each site until it becomes easy
- record the date when something was posted
- record the topic that was posted so it is not posted twice
How many times have you asked someone to do something and you come back and you are shocked by what they did or didn’t do? Checklists clarify what needs to be done in order to call the task completed. It allows you to delegate work.
Some examples are:
Clean your room – this means something different to each person
- Take the sheets and pillowcases off the bed and put them in the laundry
- Put on clean sheets and pillowcases
- Pick up everything off the floor and put it away
- Dust everything( list the items)
- Vacuum the floor, closet and under the bed
- Empty the garbage can into ……
- place documents in designated box for filing
- recycle advertising
- shred unimportant documents with personal information on them
- sort the pile alphabetically or by date or category
- file placing new documents in the front, header to the left
Planning an event for your family or at work
- set date, time and place
- send out notice/invitation with date, time, directions, need to know information, RSVP
- start to build a purchasing list
- decide on food and drink- quantities, order or prepare on site
- set up the room – seating, decorations, pens, paper
- clean the location
- have a place for coats
- plan activity- ice breakers, games,
- purchase/shop for items for the event
- set up a timetable for the event
- reminder notice
- post signs showing where to go, the name of the event Developing a checklist is a good way to think through all the steps in a task. Click To Tweet
Avoid mistakes, frustration and embarrassment
Checklists are great for things you do from memory to confirm you have not missed anything. Memory is fallible, especially the busier you get. If you have a checklist you won’t forget to make sure you have enough handouts for your meeting, you have defrosted the meat for supper, you have your passport etc. Sometimes I have a mental checklist I run through before leaving the house, a written checklist is better
How to write a good checklist
In his book, Gawande said a good checklist contains only five to nine items and fits on one page. You might not get your checklist right the first time, so practice using it in the real world, and then refine it as needed.
Checklists can improve performance, help you be more consistent, reduce anxiety and errors. If something you are doing and is hard, complicated, never seems to go right or needs to be delegated try making a checklist for that task. It is a good way to think through all the steps in a task. It only works if you use it before you begin your task.
Need help making a checklist book a 30-minute complimentary virtual organizing appointment. https://mindoverclutter.as.me/virtualorganizingassessment
Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.
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