Increasing productivity with checklists

Here’s the thing about checklists, I can suggest to a busy friend or client to use them, and they usually have the same answer, “oh yes I always think I need to do that, but I don’t get around to it!”

We know we need to use checklists, but we don’t prioritise the time to set them up because we’re too busy. The conundrum being, if we put the time aside to set up, and use, our checklists properly, we will find we have more time in our day.

What if I told you the best way to be productive with checklists has very little to do with the checklist and everything to do with your priorities?

Here are my 6 steps to using checklists properly. I promise if you implement this into your day, you’ll start to see a change in how you’re feeling as well as how productive you’re being.

6 steps to using checklists properly:

Step 1: Schedule a time each working day that will be your FOCUS time. It’s going to be 30 minutes, and it’s going to be at the same time each working day.

Step 2: At the beginning of each working day, write out your checklist of things you want to complete that day. Make this a brainstorm session… this list can be as long or as short as you like. The list also can relate to practical things like ‘picking up the kids from school’, or it can be complex things like ‘write out my 6 pillars of content creation’… it’s your list so go to town on it.

Step 3: Pick 3 things from your list that will be your priority items. These are the things that will be allocated to your FOCUS time, so make sure they’re things that will be best done when you’re quiet and focused.

Step 4: Pick ONE task from your priority items to be completed during your FOCUS time. Remember, you get 30 minutes to complete the task to make sure it’s something that will take at least 30 minutes to complete. I like to set this time aside for my creative things because I enjoy them the most.

Step 5: When you come to your scheduled FOCUS task turn off all distractions BEFORE your scheduled time begins – don’t waste your 30 minutes on mucking about with your distractors. This means, turn off your email notifications, put your phone on aeroplane mode and put it in another room (it’s only 30 minutes you can do it).

Step 6: With ZERO distractions, it’s now time to sit down and do your FOCUS task.

You have to do this every working day – don’t skip a day. Set the same time every day and repeat this exercise. By the end of your FOCUS time, you’ve completed one task – or at least taken a big chunk out of that task, and you’ve now only got 2 more priority tasks to worry about.

You might be wondering why this would mean you’re suddenly using checklists and being more productive.

Well, essentially, you’re training yourself to a) rely on your checklist for organisation and b) you’re training your brain to switch into FOCUS mode at the same time each working day.

Habits don’t just drop out of the sky they’re things we work at and train ourselves into through repetition. It’s essential to do this every day, at the same time each day, because you’re preparing yourself to switch into a FOCUS mindset. The more you do it, the easier it will get.

If you give this a go and commit to it, I guarantee you will find yourself becoming more productive, and you will find switching into FOCUS mode becoming easier and easier.

Eventually, you will start to tap into parts of your creative process you didn’t even think possible, ideas will flow and you’ll solve your problems faster and more efficiently.

Honestly, it’s a game-changer.

You will feel accomplished at the end of the day. Imagine going into each day feeling energised and capable and feeling like you’re ready to tackle the day head-on.

Don’t be overwhelmed by your checklists… write them out and then focus on one priority task to tackle at a time while training your brain to switch into FOCUS mode at the same time each day.

A huge part of what I do is more about teaching my clients how to form habits or how to adjust to a new way of doing things. It’s always a gradual process that starts with repetition.

I switched to using checklists 10 years ago, and they have impacted my productivity so much I’ve never looked back! It’s the best way I’ve found to switch myself into FOCUS mode ENJOY getting things done.

Imagine enjoying your daily tasks!

Give it a go and drop a comment so I can see how you went! If you’re after more tips on how to switch into focus mode, let me know.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels


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