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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.  

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. 

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.

Have a Digital Depository for All Thoughts

Coming up with thoughts and ideas is easy but keeping and storing them is a completely different story. Trying to remember and recall all your tasks is probably one of the biggest challenges you will have to face on a daily basis. 

Your brain isn’t meant to hold all those large and small details. If you let little things pile up, you might find yourself at a loss of what you should do next. This is why it is important to look for ways that will stop you from forgetting your thoughts and safekeeping them the proper way. 

Here are some ways to avoid getting lost amidst thoughts, ideas, and tasks. 

Take Down Notes Immediately 

Your to-do list can help you get it through the day. But, how about things that take place throughout the day that you also need to remember? Make it your habit to make a note about your thoughts immediately. Whether it is about an appointment or buying an important gift for your brother, taking notes lets, you keep up with unexpected surprises. 

Make the Most Out of the Your Smartphone’s Lock Screen 

If you are like any other average phone user, you probably check the time on your smartphone every now and then. Why not use the lock screen of your phone as a great place for stashing reminders, then? For instance, if you always forget about cleaning your desk, take a photo of your desk and make this your lock screen. Who would want to see a messy desk every time you open your phone? 

Setup a Reminder 

You can set up important reminders on your phone for current things you wish to turn into a habit or things that you constantly forget. This is especially so if there is a deadline involved, such as garbage day. 

Set an Alarm 

In case there is a specific time when you have to leave your office or home, attempt to avoid traffic, or return an important call, you can set the alarm as this remains one of the ideal ways to be punctual and be on your feet all the time. 

Automate It 

You can have your entire bill payments automated to make it easier on your part. Also, try to schedule your next appointment while you are still at your doctor’s office. For those ongoing food or beauty purchases and home maintenance needs, you can request an online shop to ship the items you need automatically when they would run out. 

It is Time Download Your Mind 

When you are too busy paying attention to larger and more important tasks, it is common for your mind to be swarmed with those minutes life details that you have set aside. Maybe you have long been planning to replace your favorite coffee mug that got broken courtesy of your dog or maybe you want to get rid of that pesky stain on your favorite shirt. Take time to organize these pending tasks and write down all those little things that have been causing you stress. By doing so, you can finally finish them off and just breathe out a sigh of relief.