The Importance of Checklists
Making checklists can seem tedious and boring, but the practice can save your business by improving efficiency and minimizing mistakes. Also, with checklists there's a written paper trail showing accountability for each leg of any project. With a basic framework you can look back on, it will be easier to pinpoint any troubles before they make their way down the pike.
Making a checklist for yourself is a good way to start your business off on the right foot. It ensures you get your daily, weekly and monthly tasks done on time, helps you keep track of projects on deadline and ensures you're organized throughout the day. It sets a good example for your employees as well. If the boss keeps a checklist, the workers are more apt to keep one, too. It provides a consistency to the business, showing that what you expect from your employees is what you expect from yourself. Keep your list manageable so that you can accomplish most of what you've written down on any given day. Make time for meetings and communication. You can even put those things on the list.
Whether or not you work a 9- to -5 day, every business has projects that need to be managed quickly and well. Each project should have its own checklist of objectives and tasks. As the project team works on it, it can cross off each piece. This helps to make sure everything gets done in a timely fashion and that no piece is forgotten or swept under the rug. Use these lists for accountability by having the employees who finished each task initial next to it. Try to order these lists so that workers can see what needs to be done next. This will streamline the project process.
Use lists for daily tasks that need to be completed regardless of other business attended to. As you complete projects and move toward new goals, these tasks will gradually change. Allow this master list to change with them, updating it each day. When a task is completed, remove it from the list entirely to make room for the next task. Even if you are rewriting the same job each day for a month (like calling clients for new product), it will forge a concrete habit in your brain and ensure that you don't forget any mundane details.
Priority checklists are a little more involved than basic checklists, because they also include a priority component, meaning that certain tasks are more important than others and must be done first. With these lists, accountability is key, so make sure each task that is accomplished has initials next to it of someone who will vouch for the work. The lists work best for event planning, where team members need to see the whole picture but have to break down the components to make sure everything goes according to plan.