DO-CONFIRM or READ-DO? The book “Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande gives advice on creating effective checklists. He divides the checklists in two categories – DO-CONFIRM and READ-DO. While the first one refers to performing jobs by memory and then cross-checking the checklist to make sure everything is done, the second (READ-DO) signals to using the checklist while performing the task.
Gawande’s book suggests that good checklists are short (some prefer to keep it between 5 and 9 items), precise, efficient, to the point and easy to use. On your checklist, put only the most important things. If your checklist is several pages long, try to group things together. Make sure the items on your list are as precise and practical as possible. This makes checking off tasks from the list much easier.
Your checklist is bound to change over time, so update it frequently. Remember to strike out done items from your list. This will make you feel like you’ve accomplished things and helps you see how much there is still to be done.
Try making a checklist first thing in the morning or last before you stop working. Do you need a new to-do list every day or should you have a weekly or a monthly list? Write it on a post-it note or try one of the checklist apps for your phone and see what works best for you.
Before you leave work, make a checklist for the upcoming day. See how that affects your productivity the next day.