September 09, 2014
A few 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 is that 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 and as a result, when we feel better our attitudes, enjoyment and happiness is enhanced.
Have you ever had a busy day out of the office, going from one meeting to another and tried to remember all that took place? This can be particularly nerve racking. To deal with this challenge, I created a travel binder that is a series of checklists. This enables me to track and evaluate my day(s), when I am out and about, meeting clients, attending networking functions, conducting workshops, etc. I update this binder every time I get in my car, after any meeting.
Contained in this binder are the following checklists: List of items to take with me, a habits to develop checklist, a sales meeting evaluation, billable hours, expense tracker, marketing activity tracker, my operational checklist for the current week, and a page for notes. This binder is carried with me daily, reviewed at the end of the week, and updated with new forms each week.
I do not like carrying my lap top with me every day. However, some days I need the lap top for presentations, etc. Prior to this checklist, one day I forgot my lap top and had to do a workshop, old style, without the power point—not my best day. Items contained in this checklist include lap top, client binders, coaching/consulting tools binder, sales binder, networking file, flip chart, and presentation box.
It takes 21 days to develop a habit. I keep a list of habits I want to develop in this binder and update my execution daily. If I do not get to 21 days, I start over again on that habit to develop.
The sales meeting tracker is used to write quick notes after I conduct a sales meeting, while the information is fresh in my mind. I ask myself 5 questions and document my answers: what went well, what did not go well, what were the obstacles, where did I leave the meeting, and the next step.
After meeting a client I document the time and the billable hours, right there, on the spot, to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. I also document any expenses I incur during my time out of the car on the expense form.
The marketing activity checklist is to keep me focused on marketing by documenting what I am doing daily to market my business. It may include attending a networking meeting, distributing flyers to an event, or making a presentation. Again, this is just to ensure I focus on marketing daily.
The operational checklist was discussed in depth a couple of weeks ago, and the notes form is just an organized approach to documenting thoughts, ideas, etc., when I travel.
How frustrating is it to rack your brain at the end of the day or week, trying to remember things, conversations, ideas that you did not jot down. This is the solution I developed for me. Do you have your own solution?