August 26, 2014
Two weeks ago, I communicated my beliefs about how valuable checklists are. I stated:
One of the best tools for staying organized, being effective, controlling your time, and getting done what you need to do is a CHECKLIST.
I discussed why people do not use checklists and that I have discovered that the deeper you get into something, the more you realize there is to do. The more you have to remember. The more you will forget because you are focused on something else or another aspect of what you are working on.
I conveyed the value of checklists cannot be ignored. First, it helps you focus on what needs to be done. It is a reminder. It may be a list of the routine. And even more important: when using a checklist and you check off a completed item, science tells us that it sends endorphins to our brains and makes us feel good/better—a direct result is when we feel better our attitudes, enjoyment and happiness is enhanced.
I utilize five active checklists that help me tremendously. One of the most critical checklists I use is the close the week checklist. I hate going into the next week with jobs/tasks undone from the previous week. I strive to finish today, today. As a result, I created a checklist designed to ensure I carry nothing over to the next week. The checklist is broken up into several categories: updating notes, congruency, organization, financials and preparing for sales, networking, and other meetings.
The most important aspect of the Updating Notes section is to review all my coaching sessions from the past week and other notes and ensure I have handled or documented all promises or ideas that need to be executed or explored.
The Congruency section validates that I practice what I preach. I update a focus sheet that contains my goals and priorities for the following week and conduct a coaching session with myself, asking the same questions and challenges I pose to my clients.
The Organization section includes reviewing and updating my calendar and filling in time slots for non-meeting activities with what I plan to do during those time frames. This section also includes updating my car binder, review and prioritize the Clients List of my to-dos, reviewing my website and deciding which items I can leverage through utilization of a virtual assistant.
The Financial section deals with updating financials—updating my expense log, ensuring my accounting has captured all bank deposits, reconciling checkbooks, paying bills, updating Quickbooks, sending invoices, etc.
The most important section is Preparing for Next Week’s meetings and writing my blog. I review all meetings scheduled and ensure I am fully prepared for each meeting. For sales meetings, I do the appropriate research and make appropriate notes. For networking meetings, I ensure I write my 30 second presentation and ensure it communicates the message I want to convey that particular week, as well as prepare any flyers or announcements I want to get out to the groups. I also document my return on investment from the current week—referrals given and received and monies received from referrals.
I find that knowing I have closed the week gives me a strong sense of accomplishment and helps me enjoy the weekend even more. Do you have a close the week or month checklist? Should you?