How to Use Simple Checklists to Boost Productivity and Focus

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How to Use Simple Checklists to Boost Productivity and Focus

Checklists have revolutionized everything that I do, they’re so good my productivity and focus have skyrocketed! Once you see the power of them you will wonder why you didn’t use them sooner.

I’ve always known about checklists but I didn’t really see the effectiveness of them until I created my first one and used it on a recent project. The results changed how I processed everything.

You see, I am terrible at focusing on one thing, ToDoIst helps a bit but I always ended up getting off track or I would try and do too many things at once.

After bringing a checklist into my life it changed my organization skills, my focus and how quickly I got tasks completed. It’s something which I feel everyone should be using.


Checklist Will Make You More Organized

A checklist has this amazing effect on you, once you’ve created your checklist you know the exact direction you’re taking, from A-Z.

After I created my first checklist for my Kindle business I didn’t think much of it until I started the task of finding a new Niche and then the profitable keywords.

I had an exact step by step within each section. I wasn’t tempted to go elsewhere. When I felt as if I was fraying from the intended goal I would stop, take a breath and look at exactly what the next step was.

Like many people, my mind is a bit of a haywire and I need something to help me stay on the straight and narrow. A bit more focus you could say.

I used to be all over the place, I wasn’t 100% sure what was coming next. I’m basically a scatterbrain. I like to over think things because I always think that I need to get everything perfect even if I know the route I’m taking.

The checklist allowed me to put all of that to one side, and I knew exactly what I had to do next instead of jumping back and forth between tasks.




Laser Focus

With the list it allowed me to focus on the task in hand, and instead of jumping ahead I knew that I had to complete the current task right in front of me before I could progress.

This changed my focus from being all over the place to focusing directly on the current task in hand.

I was amazed at how much this changed my thinking.

With this laser focus came increased productivity and quicker implementation. Before I would spend too much time on a task where as of now I’m able to actually take a task in the checklist and complete it in record time.


Mix In With ToDoIst

Even though I have a checklist of tasks and it looks and feels pretty straightforward, I still need that extra bit to help with organization.



ToDoIst does just that!

Because I run several businesses I need to break them up into time frames. Writing Business morning, Kindle afternoon, Blog late afternoon

At the end of every day, I will look at the lists of remaining actions and decide if I need to add anything extra to then or just proceed as they are.

It’s a quick process which will help you sleep better at night as you won’t be worrying about what you have to do the next day.

The other advantage is you can go complete zombie in the morning and you’ll only have to look at what the next task is.


How To Create Your Checklist

I took this technique from Frank Kern, it is simple yet effective.

What you need to do is write start, draw a line and then at the other end of the line write the end goal of what you want to be able to achieve once your finished. In between those two points write tasks you need to complete to achieve the end goal.

For each of those tasks write specific actions you need to take to achieve that task.

For example, Book Cover creation

  1. Hire a freelancer on Upwork/Fiverr
  2. Have 3 front cover variations created
  3. Send the variations to people to ask which is their favourite
    • This will shock you as the winner may not be the one you thought
  4. Tally up the votes and choose the winner
  5. Create 3 similar back cover variations of the winning front cover
  6. Send the variations to people to ask which is their favourite
  7. Tally up the votes and choose the winner
  8. Send the book page number and complete the book

You might think I am overdoing it with the tasks for the book cover, but you have to think that this book cover will be the first thing people see when their browsing on Amazon and if it doesn’t attract their attention your book will soon drop and will never be seen ever again.

However, if you spend a little bit of time (3-4 days to create and get votes) (3 days to complete the rest)

This whole process costs $40 and then future books in the series only cost $15-$25 a time.

I will now hear some people moaning this is way too much to create a book cover as they have Fiverr. But consider the maths.

If you did the same thing on one front cover is going to cost you $10, if you have only 3 cover variations that are $30 already. A back cover to add will be an extra $5-$10, but you only get one variation.

Oh…. And it will take 5-7 days to just get the front cover depending on the gig you choose.


Part of my publishing checklist



Use Evernote

I have tried multiple methods of keeping checklists in the past and Evernote stuck out to me as the easiest one.

I create a new note under a notebook and tag it in checklists, so even though that checklist may be in a completely different location to all the others I merely have to click on the checklist tag and it will take me to all of my checklists.

I have a preference for writing my checklists on my laptop and checking them off on my phone. Luckily Evernote syncs between both of them.


How They May Evolve

Your checklists can be a work in progress.

What I mean by this is when you first create them they might not be perfect and that is OK. The most importing is to quickly create one and implement it. As you progress you will discover things you forgot and you can add them in as you go.

As you gain more experience your checklist will change, you will strip away things which no longer are useful and add extra things which help you progress quicker and easier.


Final Thoughts

After working out how to use them it literally changed the way I complete projects and tasks every day. I have gone from a state of worrying that I missed something, to now being super confident in what I am doing.

I really recommend you try them out as you will be amazed at how well they can help you with your work. I hope you take advantage of this and see how it can help with your work and your life as much as it has done for me.


  • 16/02/2018

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