It is easy to become organized with the proper use of a checklist. It is where you can see the complete list of all the tasks and activities that you need to attend to on a daily basis. Since you can see them, there will surely be no way for you to ever forget about them. This is what makes a checklist wonderful and this is also what allows you to finish your tasks or activities on time.
In this article are 24+ of the best free checklist samples and templates that you can think of. In addition, the checklist templates provided are in Word format so that it will be easy for you to edit or make changes to the document based on your preferences. Basic and important information that you should know about checklists are also included in this article, like its uses and some useful tips on how to be able to use a checklist effectively. You can learn a lot about checklists from the many discussions below. Check them out now!
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What Is a Checklist?
A checklist is sometimes referred to as a task list or to-do list because it contains or includes a detailed list of tasks or activities that need to be done or completed. The contents of a checklist differs depending on what it is going to be used for. Examples of these checklists are compliance checklists, partnership agreement checklists, and employee checklists. There are also checklists for random things or tasks, like daily checklists and monthly checklists. There are definitely a lot of things to be done with the use of a checklist and all of them have been proven to be effective.
The main purpose of using a checklist is for organization. In order for task and activities to get done on time, a checklist is used so that before the day ends, one can scan through the tasks and check which ones have not been completed yet. It is easy for us to forget a lot of things than remember them, and it may seem okay at times, but when it comes overlooking work-related stuff and other important stuff, you might just get yourself in trouble. And there goes the story of your bad record, whether it be a personal bad record or a bad record at work.
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What Is Included in a Checklist?
There are people who succeed in a lot of things and there are also a lot of people who fail at them. We would often assume that they are just better, smarter, and have more time and resources to do them which is why they succeed. That is actually true, but not entirely. Not all individuals who are better succeed in a lot of stuff. Smart people succeed because they used their brains and thought of ways on how they can organize their tasks before they start to work on them. This is how they were able to get more time and find more resources.
And how did they do that? That is simply because they thought of using a checklist while they were still planning. It’s not that hard to make one though, especially if it is for personal use. To get started, you first need to learn the things that should be included in a checklist.
- Heading/Title – Your checklist needs to have a title so that it can be easily identified among the other stuff that you have, like planners, schedules, or meetings.
- The purpose or what the use of the checklist is supposed to achieve
- Specific instructions on how to use the checklist, if necessary
- Checklist categories can also be included depending on what the user prefers
- The name of the person who will be using the checklist, especially if it is a checklist used by a group or a company
- The list of tasks that should be included in the particular checklist – The tasks should be arranged based on priority, which means that important tasks should be on top of the list and less important tasks should be somewhere in the middle or at the bottom of the list.
- The description of the tasks to be done – This is usually provided in checklists that are used for a specific purposes, like construction checklists or observation checklists. It is because there are tasks that need to be done specifically as requested or demanded by the clients or company as with construction checklists. It is also often because of the need to strictly follow the standard operating procedures required to do the tasks.
- The dates of the tasks – There are actually two dates to take note of in most checklists and they are the start date and the end date. The start date is necessary with project checklists because because it is how the user determines when the project started. The end date or the due date is perhaps the most important of the two because it tells when the tasks in a checklist need to be done and so that it can be done on time.
- Remarks on every item that is in the checklist – Not all checklists require remarks. The only time remarks are asked is when a checklist is again used only for specific purposes.
- Signature and name – Some checklists also require the name and signature of the person who has completed the task. Often the date of completion and remarks are included.
These are just some of the common things that you would see included in a checklist, but there surely are more. If you would want to know more, you can always check out other checklist-related topics, like HR checklist samples and templates and vehicle inspection checklist templates. You can check them online or go through our website to be able to download samples for free!
Types of Checklist
There are a lot of different checklists being used today. Although they have the same goal or main purpose, each one is still used differently from the other and this is largely dependent on the user. To name all of the checklists in existence would somehow take forever, not to mention that new checklists for specific purposes are being produced on a daily basis all around the world.
So that it would be easy to further discuss about the types of checklists, we will be categorizing them based on the way they are used. That brings us to the two types of checklist, namely the do-confirm checklist and the read-do checklist. Each of them are discussed below.
Do-Confirm Type of Checklist
- The term do-confirm implies that the tasks are being performed or completed first and then the checklist is consulted to see if all the tasks have been done.
- This type of checklist ensures that all of the tasks are done on time and none are overlooked.
- It gives the user more freedom in doing the tasks or activities as the user can recall the tasks first from their memory before they consult the checklist.
- The use of this type of checklist also allows the user to take a short break after all the tasks have been completed before proceeding to a different set of tasks.
- Examples of the checklists where the do-confirm style can be used on are moving checklists and weekly checklists. It is because the tasks in a moving checklist or a weekly checklists can be easily remembered so one would probably do the tasks first and then consult the checklist to see if they have forgotten to do something.
Read-Do Type of Checklist
- This is the exact opposite of the do-confirm type of checklist. In the read-do style, the user needs to read first the steps or tasks necessary to do the tasks before they start doing anything.
- The read-do type of checklist includes tasks that need to be done step by step or in chronological order to make sure that the task is completed correctly with the desirable results.
- Examples of checklists or tasks that need to be done step by step are risk assessment checklists, audit checklist, and medical or emergency checklists.
It is easy to identify what type of checklist you are using based on how you use it. So the next time you come across other types of checklist or get the chance to use them, you will definitely know what type of checklist it is.
To know more about checklists, you can always visit our website where we have a variety of checklist-related topics and other topics to help you plan and organize that you can check out. Examples are hourly planner samples and planner, personal planner samples and templates, and training planner sample and templates.
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Checklist Examples and Their Uses
Part of understanding what a checklist is all about is by knowing what it is and what it is used for. Checklists come in different forms and are used for basically just about anything. To be able to understand checklists more, we have made a list of checklist examples with their uses.
1. Event Checklist
Event checklists are very useful no matter what kind of event or celebration it may be used for. It can be a birthday celebration, random parties, and family gatherings. An event checklist is basically used for making sure sure that all the tasks and activities for a given event are prepared and ready whenever it is going to be used. It also ensures that no part of the planning or program is overlooked and that the sequence of events is followed as planned. This checklist very useful in organizing different events and makes sure that the planning and the tasks are done in detail.
2. Project Checklists
As students, the project load that we get from different teachers often get to an unmanageable number and becomes so gruesome to work on or even think about. Projects are not only done in school. Companies and businesses also have their business-related projects to work on. No matter what the project is, project checklists will always be a helpful tool in making sure that things get done in the project. Project checklists are used to help organize certain school projects. It also provides a detailed list of tasks and activities required to finish or complete a specific project.
3. Wedding Checklists
Planning for a wedding may be tough, but a lot of people were able to get by and were able to plan for the wedding they so dream of without the help of a wedding planner. A wedding checklist was all the tool they need to get things right and plan according based on their preferences. Even professional wedding planners make use of wedding checklists to help them ensure that all of the preparations for the wedding have been done. A wedding checklist helps in organizing the preparations for the special occasion and avoid any troubles from happening.
4. Employee Checklists
An employee checklist is a list of tasks and activities that company employees need to do and finish on a daily basis. These tasks are specific to the needs and demands of their work. Employee checklists help employees become organized with the things that they need to do which are oftentimes more than what they can actually handle in an eight-hour shift. This is one of the many reasons why this checklist is being used by a lot of employees and employers alike. Other types of employee checklists include pre-employment checklists, new hire checklists, and checklists for exit interviews or for exiting a company.
5. Observation Checklists
Observation checklists are used in making specific observations. The checklist helps in making the observation process systematic and organized. Although making a simple observation is fairly easy to do, there are some observations that require a lot of activities and tasks to be done as well as things to take note of. Remembering them mentally might end up in failure. With the use of observation checklists, the goals of a particular observation activity can be reached with the desired results.
6. Babysitter Checklists
With the use of a babysitter checklists, parents and guardians of babies or little children can rest assured that the care needed and attention needed by their little ones are given while they are away for some period of time. The checklist contains a list of the activities that babies need, as well as the schedule on when the activities should be done.
Following the checklist and schedule is important for babies, especially if it is something that they routinely do. Some of the activities that are included in a babysitter checklists are the baby’s feeding schedule and snack schedule, activity schedule and sleeping schedule.
7. Construction Checklists
A construction checklist is used in the construction industry to have an organized way of building and ensure the safety of everyone who is working in the construction site. Most construction checklists come with a safety plan to ensure that everyone is safe while doing their jobs. Using a construction checklist on every construction job makes it possible and easier for tasks to be delegated to other teams who are capable or who specialize in those tasks.
The tasks that are included in a construction checklist are planning for the construction project, making inspections and preparing for audits, checking the construction site, monitoring the activities of the contractors, doing equipment delivery follow-up, and many more.
Aside from construction tasks, other things that are also included in the construction checklist are the list of equipment and materials to be used, the processes and standard operating procedures to be followed, and the government laws that needed to be complied with.
8. Risk Assessment Checklists
A risk assessment checklist is a tool used to maintain the safety and security of a premises as well as ensure the safety and security of the people who are in those premises. It helps in analyzing any potential hazards or risks by checking different risk points one by one. Through a risk assessment check, potential risks and hazards to people and properties are eliminated.
It is a must that risk assessment checks are conducted periodically to completely eliminate any possibilities of those risks and hazards from happening. The goal of using the checklist is to prevent any harm from happening and to ensure that not one task in the risk assessment check is overlooked.
9. HR Checklists
A company’s human resources department is the one responsible for implementing the rules and regulations, and proper decorum in a company. They not only implement rules and regulations, they are also responsible for handling important files and documents of every employee in the company and make sure that they are organized and in place in case they need to be used.
They also makes sure that a company is following the proceeding stated in labor codes and employee or worker acts mandated by the government. Examples of the tasks listed in an HR checklist are creation of company and employee guidelines, keeping employee records and other documents, organize and prioritize the activities of the human resources department, and disseminate company- or business-related information to the entire workforce.
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How to Make a Checklist
It is never too late to start becoming organized, and one way for you to do it is with the use of a checklist. We already know that every checklist is different and its contents vary depending on how it is going to be used and who will be suing it. There are a lot of factors that affect the appearance and contents of a checklist.
But what makes it wonderful is that there are no strict rules or guidelines as to how you want to make. A few steps is all you need to be able to get started. So we have gathered easy to follow steps to help you make your own checklist.
- First, think of the purpose or the reasons why you want to use a checklist. What do you want to start organizing? What do you want to become organized at? For how long would you like your checklist to be. Asking yourself these questions will help you determine what kind of checklist you should make.
- After determining the purpose of your checklist, make an outline of what you would like your checklist to look like or what you want to put in it. The outline will make it easy for you to decide on what tasks and activities you should put in.
- Make a draft of the list of tasks or activities that you want. The draft will allow you to add more tasks that you have forgotten to add or remove tasks that you think are not really necessary.
- Now, prioritize your task list. Write important tasks on top of your list and the not so important tasks at the middle or at the bottom of your list. If they are not really important, you may completely remove them from your list.
- You can use the draft as the actual checklist you have or transfer it to another sheet where you can make it look neat and clean. If your checklist is going to be used for business-related stuff or if other people are going to use it, it is best that you transfer it to a clean sheet of paper.
- You can use blank checklist template as your own checklist, which can be used for a lot of different purposes. You can download them online for free. You can change and edit the contents based on your preference. If your checklist is for something specific, you can check out other pre-formatted checklist templates like travel checklists and packing checklists, to name a few.
- Transfer the list of tasks on your draft to the checklist template that you have prepared. Transfer them one by one making sure that the priority tasks are written on top.
- Double-check your work. If you must, check for any spelling and grammar errors that you might have overlooked.
There you have it! Isn’t it easy to make your own checklist? Now you can start becoming organized and get things done on time. To know more about checklist, you might want to check out other checklists that we have on our website, like effective vacation and travel checklist, vehicle maintenance checklist, checklist for harassment investigations, and many more.
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Tips on How to Effectively Use a Checklist
Not all those who use a checklist end up getting organized or becoming successful. There are those who fail in doing so even if they try so hard to use it and even if they have been using it for a very long time. They just fail over and over again. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a checklist is not truly effective at all. It all boils down to how they use a checklist.
To be able to take advantage of a checklist, you should know how to use it, just like you would with other things around you. So to help you with your checklist goals and organization goals, here are some tips on how you can effectively use a checklist without fail.
Tip #1: Learn from your mistakes.
We don’t always get to know about some tips or ticks about using checklists, and it’s not all the time we think of looking for these kinds of tips online. Individuals who use a checklist for the first time would probably have experienced failing at using it. Again, this doesn’t mean that the checklist is not effective. It just means that you are using it wrongly and that is the bad thing about it.
The good thing about it is that you can always learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself, why did it not work when obviously it worked for other people? Then you will come to realize where it went wrong and start over from there. Slowly you will be able to learn how to use a checklist effectively.
Tip #2: Be mindful of what you write.
Sometimes we get so excited with the thought of using a checklist that we just randomly write a lot of different tasks and things on our list and that is it. What happens is we always end up not being able to do anything or not completing every task that is listed. This makes us feel demotivated and so we stop doing the tasks in the checklist. Where did it all go wrong? Writing more than what we can actually do can overwhelm us and lead us to not accomplish anything, which is a huge demotivating factor.
When listing tasks for your checklist, you need to consider the task that you can actually complete and not the tasks that you can only write. For starters, you can do 5 to 10 easy tasks per day or 3 to 5 difficult tasks per day. As you get accustomed to the routine, slowly add more tasks until such time that you are able to do a lot. This is when you can finally reap the fruits of your hard work.
Tip #3: Learn to prioritize.
Prioritizing is not an easy thing to do. It takes practice and a lot of mistakes to be able to truly become good at it. But you don’t have to be an expert in prioritizing to become good at doing your checklist. When prioritizing the tasks or activities for your checklist, weigh the circumstances or the pros and cons on which task should be on top and which ones should be at the bottom.
Think of what is important for you or your company and use that as basis for your prioritization. Unsuccessful use of a checklist is often a result of poor prioritization.
Tip #4: Check off completed tasks.
There is no better way to motivate yourself than to see the task you have completed checked off. The checkbox in a checklist is there for only one reason and that is to be checked off after the task has been done or completed. Seeing what you have accomplished will make you feel good about yourself and thus encourage you to do more. And because you feel motivated, you then become productive.
Tip #5: Find your style.
There is no single style that works for everyone because every one of us is unique. There are different learning styles and ways on doing things, and that is just similar to using a checklist. A checklist is a tool that gives you freedom on how you want to go about finishing your tasks. If one style of using a checklist does not work for you, then find another style that you feel comfortable with.
If writing your checklist on paper is not working for you, then use other means, like putting it on your cell phone or other gadgets. By finding your style, you will be amazed at how easy and effective it is to use a checklist.
Tip #6: Establish a routine.
Getting used to using a checklist takes time, which usually depends on how fast you get accustomed to using it. Building or having a routine on how you do your daily tasks makes it easier for you to get used to using a checklist. And once you are doing good at that routine, you may change it up or upgrade it to a different routine, that way you will continue to be productive instead of ending up bored with your work.
Tip #7: Prepare ahead of time.
Most of us would usually make a checklist right on the spot. This still works, but you wouldn’t be as productive as you would if you prepared your checklist ahead of time. The advantage of preparing your checklist before the actual day you are going to use it is that it allows you more time to think of more important things rather than things that you only remember at the spur of the moment.
Tip #8: Be flexible.
There are a lot of things that you might encounter while doing your listed tasks and a lot of them would probably distract you from what you really need to do. Most of the time these distractions win and we end up not doing what we are supposed to. If that happens, our initial reaction would be getting disappointed, demotivated, and we even end up getting mad. If you feel any of those mentioned, then for sure you won’t be able to finish your tasks. Being flexible allows you to be able to adapt to different situations easily, which helps prevent sudden mood changes that will not do you any good.
Tip #9: Never leave a task undone.
Why should you not leave a task undone? You have your usual set of tasks on a daily basis and there would be new tasks that would pop up somewhere. If you leave any of today’s tasks undone, you will need to do them by the next day. What happens is you won’t be able to finish the next day’s tasks because you did the old ones, and the cycle goes on and on. You will end up having piles and piles of tasks to do until you will no longer be able to do them all on time. So always remember to never leave a task undone.
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