Checklists are essential tools that can help you be productive and increase the reliability of your work.

With each new client, there are a series of tasks I need to complete to onboard a client. I’m fully aware of what the steps are. After a while, it becomes repetitive, and I forget if I’ve completed all the steps for a new client, or was that the last client?

Regular tasks can become a slogfest over time, even though its work that is critical to the health of your organization. 

Aviation has made the checklist a standard to improve safety.

“Following the spectacular crash of Boeing’s “flying fortress” test bomber in 1935, Boeing engineers created an index-card-size checklist of critical tasks that was so effective, not a single of the 13,000 planes ever crashed again. Most recently, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger’s 2009 “miracle of the Hudson” landing is owed to an emergency checklist.”

Darshak Sanghavi in a review of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

Checklists have become common in team environments to ensure everyone is on the same page and the team has completed all the steps needed to make the project a success. When there are different individuals responsible for completing critical tasks, it’s essential to know what has and hasn’t been completed. This avoids confusion among the team.

Health care has adopted checklists in operating room procedures to avoid deadly errors.

The Surgical Safety Checklist introduced by Atul Gawande, MD and the World Health Organization.

I’ve used checklists in marketing and event planning with excellent results. Here are some ideas for your checklists:

  • Month-end checklist: Analytics on social media and web traffic, project reports, inventory, goal-setting for the coming month, expense reports, database maintenance
  • Content marketing checklist: topic and schedule preparation, graphic production, channel research and selection, hashtag research

There are tons of resources available to develop checklists for your business. Microsoft Word has several prebuilt templates. Online resources and apps are popping up to fill this need as well.

Example checklist for posting content to a blog.

October 30 is National Checklist Day. How can you improve your work with a checklist?