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Using Checklists to Save Yourself Time

Checklists are the perfect tools you can use to better organize and manage your assignments. These also allow you to easily identify and determine tasks of the highest importance. A checklist is designed to ensure completeness and consistency and reduce errors as you carry out a particular duty. 

There will always be busy days when you have lots of things and tasks to do but with very little time available at your disposal to get things done. This is when you need a tool to help you organize your overwhelming tasks and manage all your responsibilities. Checklists are used to perform routine checks and make sure that you don’t miss out anything. 

What are Checklists? 

Checklists are formats made to accomplish repetitive activities, collect data in a systematic and orderly manner, and control compliance with a requirements list. Checklists are used for making standardized checks of things and tasks to ensure that no important point is missed or overlooked. 

Uses and Purposes of Checklists 

Checklists can come in handy and useful for different tasks, including the following:

    • Conducting inspections that require a record of the inspected points

 

    • Conducting activities where it is a must to ensure that there are no forgotten steps or that tasks are all done in proper order 

 

    • Examine or verify articles

 

    • Analysis and verification of operations 

 

    • Analyze or examine the position of defects and check the reason behind these defects 

 

  • Collect data required for future analysis 

Top Reasons to Use Checklists 

Every time you do a task that involves several steps, it is all too easy to forget one or even several of them. The use of checklists will ensure that nothing will be forgotten. A checklist is one indispensable tool if you are doing something repeatedly, and you wish to do this right each and every time. 

A checklist can help save you time since there is no need for you to use time just to remember the steps. This will then allow you to dedicate and focus all of your time on the completion of the task at hand. A checklist will also let you delegate tasks effectively and confidently. The use of a checklist is a great way to make your life simpler and more productive.  

How to Prepare an Effective Checklist 

  1. Every item in your checklist should be brief and clear. This will make things easier for you and the people who will use the checklist. 
  2. Organize all items by group or category. It lets you navigate between different sections with ease and look for items you need to work on right away. 
  3. The checklist should be easy to use and understand. Come up with simple steps that will remind the user in a more straightforward way of the steps they should follow. 
  4. Continue to refine the checklist. Constant improvements will further improve the effectiveness of your checklist. 

A checklist helps you maintain good practices and consistency in a very convenient and easy way. This can also help you save time, energy and resources in the process.  

How to Manage Digital Clutter

Clutter can have the worst effect on productivity. 

Many people find it hard to work and concentrate in a messy and cluttered space. Getting rid of physical clutter to make your workspace cozier and more work-conducive allows you to get things done.

However, there is one form of clutter that most people tend to overlook. This is none other than digital clutter. 

Today, almost all aspects of a person’s day to day life is digital. You store tons of information on your smartphones, computers, and online. This makes it too easy for your digital space to become disorganized and overwhelmed. Just like cleaning your desk on a regular basis, cleaning out and managing your digital clutter is also important for you to be more productive. 

Check out the following tips to help you out:

Desktop

Free up some mental space by freeing up your computer’s desktop space. 

  1. Get rid of duplicate files, delete downloads, and empty the recycle or trash bin.
  2. Go through the bookmarks you’ve got on the browser. The general rule of thumb here is that if it is easy for you to get to a particular site by just typing in its name, there is no need to bookmark it. Instead, reserve this feature for specific or unique pages such as the web portal of your dentist. 
  3. Create 5 to 6 top-level folders in your computer’s Documents folder. You can label these are Receipts, Financial, Household, Health, Kids, and Travel, for example. Add sublevels as needed, but you shouldn’t go over 2 or 3 deep. Move the corresponding files from the desktop to these newly made folders. 

E-mail

It is now high time for you to get over that fear of deleting an email that you might need in the near future. You can only move on if you deal with this right away. 

  1. Grab this chance to opt-out of those subscriptions no longer of importance to you. 
  2. If you feel like you need something down the road such as receipts or emails related to your tax transactions, you can save this on a computer folder instead of an email folder. Delete that email right away after you do so. 

Apps 

Many people today often have 5 to 10 apps, yet there are also those who have 50 up to 100 apps on their device. You can improve the speed of your device by deleting those apps you don’t even use. This will also make it simpler and faster for you to access the ones you need and use. 

  1. Clear apps outside your home screen because of the fact that they aren’t there means they are not important. You can always reinstall if you suddenly miss them after some time. 
  2. Store your games and social media apps in the folder named “Time Wasters.” This blunt title will remind you to be extra mindful with every tap and swipe. 

Videos and Photos 

Photos worthy of keeping must be memory triggers for a behavior or event. 

  1. Begin with your oldest videos. Videos eat up lots of space, and if they are older, you will have a less emotional attachment to them. 
  2. Move those keepers to a computer or on the cloud. Place these in one folder that is backed up on a regular basis.

Why You Should be Brain Dumping Daily

What is the secret for increased productivity and creativity?  Well, brain dumping might be the answer to this. 

When you speak of brain dumping, you basically take all those thoughts running around your mind and dumping these into a piece of paper. Having your ideas written on paper is crucial for success. Ideas can lead to more ideas, but failure to write those down will make you lose all of them for good in a snap of a finger. 

In the practice of brain dumping, you have to transfer all of the knowledge and thoughts you have about a certain subject or during a specific timeframe into a notepad or journal. The main purpose here is for you to round up any loose ends, thoughts, and ideas then contain all of these into a single place. 

You can create your brain dump lists on physical paper journals or on a digital application on your smartphone or computer. 

Why should you brain dump daily, anyway? What makes this exercise beneficial? 

Take a look at the following advantages of brain dumping every day:

  1. Brain dumping lets you identify that one place where you can keep all your thoughts. 
  2. How many times have you had an excellent idea, but you failed to remember one critical detail? You can check back and review your brain dump log to find the answer right there waiting for you. 
  3. The ability to look at all of your ideas and thoughts within a certain timeframe from a higher level can give you the chance to make and identify connections that you probably didn’t see before. It is a great tool for product developers, entrepreneurs, and business owners. 
  4. Brain dumping can bring order and organization to the chaotic mess of information overload that is very common these days. This helps you prioritize your tasks, then complete them accordingly. 
  5. Your brain dump log can provide you a history of work and ideas you have that you can tap into and use any time in the near future for new ideas for brainstorming. 
  6. When your brain dumps on a daily basis, you can lower the number of things that can distract you from gaining proper workflow and focus throughout the day.
  7. You can use brain dumping exercise to form physical lists. These physical lists might be easier and simpler to manage compared to mental lists. 
  8. Similar to a computer, brain dumping allows you to clear your brain’s cache, and as a result, it  can improve its processing speed and overall performance. 
  9. You can plan your entire month with the use of your brain dump log and enhance your productivity. 
  10. Based on research studies, it shows that the mere act of physically writing everything down will let you encode and imprint this in your memory and improve your recall. This is what you call the modality effect. 

Practice brain dumping if you usually find yourself lacking focus or on information overload. With brain dump, you can increase your productivity, creativity, and the number of hours you spend in the zone. 

Why Mind Mapping is a Great Brainstorming Tool

Brainstorming is a type of activity meant to come up with new and novel creative ideas to solve a certain problem. This is a relaxed group discussion with the objective of finding a solution by gathering different ideas from its participants. Due to its freethinking environment, brainstorming sessions help encourage out of the box ideas that break free from the usual methods of thinking. The critic and analysis of the recommended ideas are only done once the brainstorming has ended. 

The Brainstorming Process

During a session of brainstorming, each participant is urged to think aloud and think of as many ideas as they can at the same time, even including those ideas that sound crazy or strange. The participants should shout out the ideas the moment these pop in their mind.

Every single idea will be noted without being judged or criticized at all. Judgment and criticism of the ideas will only be allowed after the brainstorming session ends. It gives people the chance to think outside the box and enjoy the freedom of suggesting ideas that might even seem and sound vaguely possible. 

A brainstorming session has the purpose of obtaining as many thoughts, ideas, and concepts as possible that will be analyzed and scrutinized later on. This means that the people involved in the session should build on those ideas that came from other participants. 

Mind Mapping for Brainstorming 

Mind mapping or also called concept mapping has a creative potential of being useful and helpful for a brainstorming session. Through the idea presentation in a non-linear, graphical, and intuitive manner, a mind map encourages the brainstorming approach to generate ideas and create connections. 

The mind mapping approach can encourage you in connecting and enumerating concepts with no need to start with a specific conceptual framework. Every time you prepare a mind map, this gives you a chance to branch out in different directions and form connections in between the different branches. After that, you could further divide these ideas into ideas that are more related to the use of additional lines. 

Use Mind Mapping for Brainstorming to Create Better Results 

When you create a mind map, it allows you to put together different pieces of information in such a way that will reveal revelations with brand new information. The basic problem is placed at the center, and from there you will generate ideas in order to come up with various possible solutions. Lines can be used to connect these ideas with other potential solutions in relation to your idea. 

Since the system of mind mapping tries to tap into the natural way that the brain functions, you will discover that mind mapping can put you in touch with your innate creative potential. This will also allow you to organize and generate ideas at a relatively faster pace. The use of color, images, and symbols can also further help stimulate and encourage imagination and creativity. 

Thanks to mind mapping, brainstorming can become more effective and efficient to help participants achieve their ultimate goal, and that is to solve the specific problem at hand. 

How to Mind Map

Wouldn’t it be great to draw your mind and see everything running inside it? In case you don’t know it, there is actually such a thing as mind mapping.

A mind map is basically a graphical way of representing concepts, thoughts, and ideas. This is one of the visual tools for thinking that can help structure information so you can get better in analyzing, generating, synthesizing, comprehending, and recalling new ideas. 

What makes mind mapping effective and powerful is its sheer simplicity. 

Unlike the traditional way of taking notes or using linear texts, the information in a mind map is being structured in such a way that has a closer resemblance to the workings of your brain. 

Since the said activity is artistic and analytical at the same time, the brain is engaged in a richer way that helps every single cognitive function. The best thing is that it is also fun at the same time. 

Uses and Benefits of a Mind Map 

Mind mapping makes taking notes fun as it jogs your creativity and helps you avoid linear and dull thinking.

Other uses of mind maps include the following:

    • Note-taking 

 

    • Problem solving 

 

    • Brainstorming in groups or individually 

 

    • Planning 

 

    • Memorization and studying

 

    • Presenting information

 

    • Consolidating and researching information from several sources 

 

    • Jogging creativity 

 

  • Gaining insight on and understanding complicated subjects 

In reality, mind mapping has plenty of uses as it helps you clarify the way you think in almost anything and everything in various contexts from personal, to family, business, or education. You can use it to plan days, summarize books, launch projects, plan and create presentations, write blog posts, or plan your life, just to name a few. 

How Do You Really Draw a Mind Map?

It is not really that difficult to draw a mind map. In fact, there are only three steps you have to follow:

  1. Start at the center of a blank page and draw or write the specific idea you plan to develop. It is recommended to use a page that is in a landscape orientation. 
  2. Next, develop the subtopics that are related to the central topic and use a line to connect these to the center. 
  3. Replicate this process for every subtopic. Generate lower level subtopics you deem applicable and connect each of these to every corresponding subtopic. 

Recommendations for Mind Mapping

    • Use drawings, symbols, and colors abundantly. Try to be as visual as much as possible, and your brain is going to thank you for that. There are a lot of people who don’t try at all, claiming that they are not artists. However, it shouldn’t stop you from giving it a try. 

 

    • Keep your topic labels in the shortest way possible. You can stick to just one word, or maybe you can just use a picture. During your first mind map, you might be tempted to write one complete enormous phrase. However, try to search for ways to shorten this to a figure or one word. This will make your mind map more effective. 

 

  • Vary text alignment, color, and size. Vary the length and thickness of lines. Use visual cues to the maximum to emphasize key points. Even the smallest bits can engage your brain.