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Event planners know that any one time their to-do list can be pages and pages long! Keeping track of everything that needs doing is critical, and having a smooth checklist process is a key part of that.
Here are six ways to keep your checklists updated and problem free.
When creating a checklist, assign priorities to the tasks you need to complete. This will help you to organize your list and work it into your available time-frame.
When priorities don’t apply, a good rule is to do the hardest tasks first. Getting these done will give you a sense of relief and accomplishment before moving on to easier and more enjoyable tasks.
This is a tip I picked up from Lifehacker that has changed the way I make lists. It works like this: when you create your checklist, you are Boss You. When you complete the tasks on your list, you are Personal Assistant You.
As Boss You it’s important to add as much detail as possible for each task. Provide due dates, explain the task clearly and break down the steps if needed. When Personal Assistant You works through the list, all the information needed should be there to save time.
Using visual reminders makes recognizing and understanding your list much faster. Doodles, arrows, borders and headings can make your checklist easier to follow as well. Mike Rohde’s Sketchnote Army is a great place to grab ideas for using visual notes.
If you’re in a hurry, adding small icons to your checklist can give you a similar effect. Try using symbols or abbreviations to categorize tasks into projects.
Another way to categorize your tasks is by color-coding them. Colored pens or markers can help you quickly add colors to your list. Using colored paper or Post-it notes may work better for a large-scale checklist on the office wall or whiteboard.
Once your list is ready to go, don’t tuck it away where you can’t see it. Post it somewhere visible as a reminder of what needs to be done. Using a plastic sleeve and clear tape you can keep your list visible on the outside of a folder or the back of a clipboard. If you prefer always being able to see it, stick it on the wall with Blu-tack or tape.
If your checklist is easy to find and read, you will be able to quickly check your progress and work out your next step without wasting time.
Ultimately, your checklist needs to be reviewed twice: once before you action it and once when it’s completed. Your first review can take place as you create the list or as a separate activity. This is when you check the priorities of each task, assign them to yourself or others and check that the list is reasonable for the time-frame available.
Once your checklist is complete, a review will help you to work out what didn’t get done and why, what lessons you’ve learned and what worked best.
What tricks do you use to make your checklist more effective? Add your ideas in the comments box below or find us on Twitter.
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Belle Beth Cooper
Belle has spent the past four years as a freelance writer and social media consultant. She has written for The Next Web, Desktop Magazine and Social Media Examiner. Belle now spends her days wielding a pencil as Attendly's Head of Content.