An Overview Of Creating Checklists From Productivity Tasks
By Tom Seest
Good time management skills and high productivity are things all online entrepreneurs strive to achieve. They’re constantly looking for any tools or strategies that can help them with these two goals.
Often, they will purchase readymade checklists that promise to walk them through a certain task. However, the biggest problem with these is that they are not tailored to the specific individual and their business or brand.
A better way to utilize checklists in your business is to learn how to create them yourself. That way, you have a highly personalized sheet that can identify specific tasks you are likely to forget or skip and make sure you move through a project from start to finish with ease.
Below, you will see some tips on how you can create the most effective checklists for your particular business. You can tweak them and tailor them for different niche markets or business models that you are pursuing.
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Table Of Contents
- How To Create a Checklist During the Process
- How To Keep the Main Task Short with Mini Tasks Below
- How To Decide Whether to Group Checklist Tasks or Use Chronological Order
- How To Be Specific with Numbers and Directions on a Checklist
- How To Use Actionable Language on a Checklist
- How To Give a Timeframe for Each Checklist Item
- How To Deviate and Update A Checklist When Needed
A checklist is something that can easily be created, but you want to make sure that it’s done right from the beginning. If you have tasks in your business that are repetitive, whether it’s a daily task or something you do a couple of times each year, you can create a checklist to help you move through the process quickly and easily.
The best way to make sure you have everything included in your checklist is to jot down the tasks as you actually go through the process once in full. If you just sit there trying to remember what all needs to be done, chances are, you will miss something important.
Initially, you can get very detailed with each task. When you go to make your official checklist, you can tighten up the tasks into something more manageable that you can know at a glance.
When you initially create your list, simply jot down the tasks that you are doing on a piece of paper or in a Word document. Later, you can turn your checklist into a visually professional piece that you create using a tool such as Canva or PowerPoint.
You can design it with images and bullet points or flow chart graphics that can help you see the process in addition to being able to read each task that needs to be checked off of your list.
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When you go to create your official checklist, the final version, you want to have the main tasks that you will be checking off short and to the point. The item that you are checking off should never be a paragraph or page’s worth of information.
If you do have many different tasks that fall under the umbrella of a main one, you can always indent each of those steps under a main task so that you have the mini task list you can check off as well.
Try to come up with succinct language that will remind you of what needs to be done without having to go into detail about why and how. If you need all of that information included, you might want to create something known as a standard operating procedure guide that is a little more in-depth than a checklist would be.
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Make a decision about whether or not you want to group your tasks according to a type of task or have them unfold in chronological order. For example, if you are going to create a checklist that will help you with your product launches, you could have a checklist that goes either way.
With chronological order, you will be doing each step on your checklist in the order that you actually want to do it. So you might have one item initially for brainstorming, followed by another item for setting up a listing, followed by another item for your sales letter or JV page.
Whatever order you traditionally like to go through the process, that will be a chronological option. Some people prefer to have their checklist unfold this way so that they know what to do in exactly the right order.
However, you also have the other option of grouping your tasks together. So you might have one group all about your sales page. The tasks for that group might include ordering the graphics, gathering your testimonials, creating a demo or screenshots for your product, testing the sales page button, etc.
You might have another task group for affiliate recruitment. This might include the creation of your JV (joint venture) page, listing it on platforms like Muncheye so that affiliates can find it, emailing your list of affiliates, networking with certain individuals to bring them on board, and so on.
Some people prefer to have this option because they can tell at a glance if one complete portion of their project it’s been completed. There is a third option, which just requires a little bit more work in setting up your checklist.
That would be to have a chronological checklist but have it color-coded so that each of your tasks stands out as belonging to a specific group. So you might have your affiliate tasks written in purple, your sales letter tasks written in green, etc.
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Whenever you are creating your checklist, you need to avoid any vague language that can set you up for failure or simply a lack of true productivity. For example, if you were to use the word some on your checklist, that might be three, or it might be 300.
So you wouldn’t want to say, “Recruit some affiliates.” Instead, have a specific number in mind that you want to use as a goal in your checklist. You might say instead something like, “Recruit a minimum of 10 affiliates.”
This goes for anything you are doing, such as the number of testimonials you want to gather, the number of pages you want to write each day, the number of hours you want to put into a project, etc.
Be just as specific with the directions that you are using on your checklist. It doesn’t mean you have to be lengthy with your description, but be precise with your language on what you want to do.
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In addition to being specific, you want to be actionable with your wording. For example, you wouldn’t want to simply say anything like, “Work on outsourcing.” Working on this task could mean anything from figuring out your budget to sourcing freelancers to work with to developing project listings that you want to upload, and so on.
If you are generic with your language, such as saying, “Network with others,” it can cause you to delay your progress as you sit there looking at a checklist that doesn’t really give you an action step.
Instead, say something like, “Private message John Doe and send a review copy before asking for a promo.” this is a very specific action step that tells you what you will be doing that day.
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Earlier, we talked about being specific with your numbers and direction. It can also help if you give yourself a timeframe on your checklist for the amount of time each task should take you.
When you go through that initial process so that you can write down all of the tasks involved with a specific project, make a note of how much time each small task takes you.
You can put this in parentheses at the end of a task so that you can quickly determine at a glance whether or not you have time to complete something with the amount of time available in your day at that moment.
If you only have 15 minutes to spare, you can easily glance at the task list and pick out something that is 15 minutes or less that you can do and be able to mark off your list as one last thing you have to address later.
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Keep in mind that just because you have created a checklist based on a process that you are used to doing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t ever deviate from that checklist when and if it’s needed.
Sometimes, something will arise that requires you to change your system a bit. There might be an update with the page builder that you are using or something that you need to learn and implement as a new guideline on a platform for your listing.
As long as you are not veering off course so that you can be distracted by other things that take you away from your success and productivity, it’s typically okay to alter your checklist when it’s necessary.
You also want to make sure that you update your checklist so that if other items are important in not being missed, you have those as a reminder that you won’t accidentally forget.
A good example of this is when a platform that you are listing your products on has a new requirement. For example, Warrior Plus initiated the requirement of a disclaimer, so you would want to have the implementation of that code included on your checklist for a product launch.
Using checklists in your business not only helps you manage your time better but it makes everything more organized and efficient for you. You will reduce your stress level and be able to manage all of the steps with ease when using a checklist that is tailored to your business.
This is also beneficial if you outsource any tasks to others, such as a virtual assistant. You can use a checklist to communicate all of the responsibilities you want that person to handle whenever they are collaborating with you on a particular project.
Readymade checklists are wonderful for serving as a springboard to help you get more done. But they should always be edited to your particular way of doing things. By learning to create your own checklist from scratch, you will find that your business runs smoothly and that you are able to achieve more from here on out.
This photo was taken by Charlotte May and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/glad-black-woman-typing-on-laptop-5965559/.