In one of his popular TEDx talks, Captain Joe sets the scene of an aircraft catching fire. After painting a picture of horror and panic, he narrates how both the pilots manage to get the situation under control and put out the fire with one secret weapon — checklists.
Whether you’re flying a plane, managing a project, or running a business, checklists can be your ultimate hack for navigating fast-paced, hectic and frenzied schedules. They can increase productivity, achieve higher efficiency and track your progress.
Looking for a few plug-and-play checklist templates to level up your performance with all these benefits? We’ve got you covered with these seven checklist examples and templates.
4 Reasons why you need checklist templates
Checklists can give you more control over your day, setting you up for more consistent success. Don’t believe in the power of checklists? Here are four reasons to make you think otherwise:
Keeps you in control of all tasks
“I like to go about my day with no plans of what I’m going to do next” — said no one ever. Not planning your day can tank your productivity and slow down your work.
On the flip side, a well-planned schedule in the form of checklists clarifies the tasks you should aim to finish in an order of priority. So, you have more control over what you're supposed to do and by when. Plus, you won't miss out on any tasks since they're already added to your checklist.
Makes you more organized & efficient
Checklists are a surefire way to organize your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and do more every day. More control = more efficiency.
The explanation behind this is simple. When you can see only the big picture, you’re not sure of the smaller steps you need to take every day to realize that big picture. However, when you break down that big picture into a checklist of smaller tasks, you can work more efficiently to reach your goals.
Keeps you on track & motivated
A checklist is like a roadmap for your day or a process. It guides the way and tells you the next steps, ensuring you don't lose direction and skip a step. That way, checklists keep you on track and build stronger concentration.
Besides, ticking off a task from your list is like a dose of positive reinforcement. This sense of accomplishment keeps you motivated to finish more steps and tick off the following items.
Helps to create repeatable success
Lastly, one of the biggest benefits of making checklists is the ability to streamline recurring processes and create repeatable success. Do you:
- eed to perform a bi-weekly audit?
- Have to follow the guidelines for a process?
- Need to check all outputs against quality parameters?
With checklists, all these tasks (and more) become a cakewalk. Instead of painfully memorizing the audit criteria, process guidelines, and quality parameters, you can refer to a checklist and get the work done effortlessly.
7 Types of checklists to maximize performance
You're convinced checklists can crack the code of better performance and make life easier. But here's the bigger question: how do you create effective checklist templates to create real impact? Simple—with tried-and-tested checklists templates.
You can create two main types of checklists:
- Do-confirm checklists: These are meant to remind you of the tasks to do. For example, you need to complete a few tasks for publishing a blog. This will be a do-confirm checklist because it helps you verify if you’ve completed all the necessary tasks.
- Read-do checklists: These are meant to tell you the next steps in a process. For example, you must perform a set of actions to tackle an emergency server outage. This is a read-do checklist because it tells you the tasks to perform to achieve the primary goal.
Now that we’ve established the two main types of checklists, let’s look at our seven checklist examples to get you cracking.
To-do lists are one of the most popular examples of checklists. These versatile and fully customizable lists help you write down and prioritize everything on your plate.
A to-do list serves only one goal: to make sense of all the tasks you need to finish and create an order of priority. These checklists structure your day to complete an overload of tasks without missing out on any task.
So, you can create a to-do checklist for virtually everything—a daily routine, a supermarket list, or an agenda list.
Here's a checklist example of the tasks to complete for setting up a Google Ads campaign. This checklist outlines three main steps, each comprising its own list of tasks to do.
Job aid checklists
Job aids provide on-demand help to guide employees through a process or activity. These just-in-time learning resources can improve employee productivity by saving an average of 3.6 hours daily on finding relevant information.
Checklists are an excellent format to deliver job aids and offer quick support. These checklists break down a workflow into smaller tasks that employees need to finish to complete the process.
For example, this employee onboarding checklist breaks down the onboarding process into five main tasks. Each task has a checklist of action items to guide the HR team in onboarding new hires seamlessly.
Training is another excellent use case for checklist templates. Trainers can divide the training process or framework into an actionable checklist to keep trainees motivated for the long run. Ticking off every item in the training checklist will give attendees a sense of accomplishment and keep them going.
Here’s a training checklist for learning Data Science. Divided into three levels, the checklist clarifies the scope of training and gives trainees a module-wise breakdown of what the training would look like.
Working in a group can be difficult. Working in a group and collaborating with more groups multiplies the challenge. This is where coordination checklists can work wonders.
A coordination checklist simplifies collaborative work by assigning tasks to different groups/people. So, if you're involved in a project with cross-functional teams, coordination checklists will lay down who’s responsible for what.
Here's another excellent example of a coordination checklist for a product launch. This list includes several tasks with a column to divide all the tasks between product, marketing, sales, and support teams.
Checklists come in handy to maintain the highest quality standards when implementing any process or strategy. These action-based implementation checklists outline the steps to finish for successfully performing a process or executing a plan.
Implementation checklists can bring consistency in results, speed up the execution process and minimize errors.
Case in point: Klaviyo’s blog publishing checklist by Tracey Wallace. The checklist includes all the essential steps she follows for publishing any blog.
It acts like an SOP for all roles involved in the process—writers, editors, designers, SEO executives and publishers.
Troubleshooting is a crucial aspect for businesses of all shapes and sizes. You need a clear troubleshooting framework for different reasons — be it customer support or IT infrastructure.
With troubleshooting checklists, the job is half done because you've documented all the steps to resolve any problem. These checklists prepare you to tackle unwanted challenges and resolve crises — like an airplane catching fire.
For example, here's a troubleshooting checklist for resolving network connectivity issues. It tells you different steps and actions to try to improve the connectivity.
Recurring process checklists
Whether you're running a business or planning your daily routine, you'll likely have a few (or a bunch) recurring tasks. Put simply, you perform these actions frequently as a part of your daily, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly routine.
You can use checklists to streamline these recurring tasks and become more efficient. A checklist will tell you exactly what to do next, creating a fail-proof system that you can repeat over and over again—like this email campaigns checklist by Campaign Monitor.
The checklist covers all the steps you should take to create a stellar email campaign. You can use this checklist to build repeatable success.
How to create an effective checklist template: 4 Best practices
So, you’re all set to take control of your life, organize all the moving parts, and become more productive with checklists. But what if there was a way to multiply the impact of this productivity hack and ramp up your performance even more?
The good news: there is.
Checklist templates make it easy for you to create a checklist for any task or activity in a few quick seconds.
Take a look at these four best practices to create your own checklist template today:
Create a brain dump document
First order of business: make a brain dump document. This is a simple exercise where you open up a blank document or pull out an empty page to dump all the tasks on your plate.
Spend extra time recalling all the items on your to-do list, so you don't miss out on any task. You can also include a list of potential tasks that might come up in the future. Make this document as extensive as possible.
With this brain-dumping exercise, you'll have complete clarity on what you have to accomplish and by when. This makes it easier to realistically plan your checklist and hit the ground running.
List all the tasks in an order of priority
Once you have a list of all the tasks, arrange them in an order of priority. The criteria for prioritizing tasks are entirely subjective. So, you can prioritize your action items based on urgency, importance or any other value parameter.
You can also segment your tasks into different categories. This step involves organizing your to-do checklist to prepare a roadmap for ticking them off. So, create a priority-wise list of tasks before moving to the next step.
Add additional details for every task
Now, you have a list of tasks to complete—arranged according to different priority levels. You can add more details for every task at this stage, like a sub-checklist of things to do. For example, if one of your to-do items is sending an email, you can add more details like the email's purpose, recipient, timeline and other details.
Make a checklist with timelines
Finally, the last step is finishing your to-do list with the timelines for every task. Make all actions time-bound to give yourself a deadline for completing them. This will create a sense of urgency when the deadlines are approaching and nudge you to start each task timely.
Bonus: Make checklists in a few seconds with Scribe
If you want to keep things simple, use the old-school pen-and-paper format to create daily lists.
But if you want to create easily accessible and automated checklists using a weatherproof template, you need a reliable documentation tool like Scribe.
Scribe can help you create checklists in the snap of a finger with its intuitive interface and advanced documentation capabilities. Create a Scribe Page and list your action items to create a fully-customizable checklist template.
You can create your own checklist template on Scribe or use this one to get started quickly.
Let checklists make life easier for you
Checklists give you a chance to Marie Kondo your life and become more productive every day. These lists organize the clutter in your mind and give you a clear direction of what you need to accomplish, one task at a time.
Use these seven checklist examples to optimize your approach at work and in life.
More importantly, if you want to get the best out of checklists, create a handy template with Scribe — it’s free, fast and effortless!