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Productivity Tip: Checklists for Recurring Tasks

For tasks that you do regularly, write up outlines of the steps required. This is especially important for tasks that you don't do regularly enough to remember the exact steps every time you do it. It's so easy to miss a step when you do something repeatedly.

Keeping checklists For example, since I only send out a mailing list once or twice a year, I keep a checklist of the steps I need to do to create the list and possible issues that I've learned from past lists that I need to look out for. By using this checklist each time I create a mailing list, I can be assured I won't miss any details simply because it's been a long time since I last created one.

The possibilities are endless. Other example checklist ideas include:

  • creating annual or quarterly reports
  • generating new sitemaps for your website
  • transferring a domain name
  • re-installing software
  • posting a blog post
  • fixing the settings on your phone when an update messes them up
  • preparing for travel
  • returning from travel
  • setting up holiday decorations
  • preparing for a party or event

I store my checklists in my main Personal Knowbase file with the keyword *checklist for quick access. I add other keywords depending on the topic of the list. So selecting the keywords *checklist and mailing list brings that mailing list checklist right up.

Sometimes checklists are rendered obsolete by changing regulations or technology. Keep an eye out for a need to update your checklists for changes that aren't under your control. For example, if your domain registrar's websites changes, you'll need to update for checklist for transferring domain names.

Don't require your brain to recall steps that aren't needed on a daily basis. Make checklists for non-trivial repeated tasks.