Using Business Checklist to Get Things Done: Which Kind Of Checklist Maker Are You?

By Kimberley Borgens

Are you one of those people who think checklists are for bossy and controlling people?

Are you getting everything done in your day to create the results you want in your business?

Many successful business owners create checklists to get things done. Over the years I have seen different ways people use checklists and I will share with you what some of the way people use them and how you might utilize a list and make money.

The two most common checklists are:

  1. Make a long list of all the things you need to get done and as you complete something on the list you check it off. That list can grow to multiple pages and in my opinion those don’t work well unless you are quite analytical and are organized enough to stay on top of your list.
  2. You make a list as you complete something and add it to a list and then you check it off. This kind of checklist builder is great if you are always getting the right things done. Yes you can look back at this list and say you accomplished a lot. But being busy is not very productive if you are avoiding the things that are hard for you to do, the things you don’t want to do and the things that will actually make you money. Then this list is not truly serving you or your business.

What kind of checklist maker are you?

Let’s dig a little deeper into checklists. Some companies make checklists to maintain safety standards. Have you heard of a preflight checklist? Some are used to make sure everything gets done by the end of the day. Other checklists are there to help you remember things like a shopping list, packing list, and take care of things while I am away list. These are great to help you give the list to someone else so they can do those tasks for you. Utilizing these kinds of checklists is important for many people to be able to delegate and free up time for themselves to do the most important things that only they can do.  

A checklist is not for writing all the things down you need to do. That would make you feel overwhelmed and would create space for some anxiety to creep in. There is so much that needs to get done on a daily basis and you would be writing all day long on your list just to get through it all.

Have you ever experienced brain fatigue? You know that feeling when you trying to think about what you need to do and it just is not coming to you. Or that feeling when your brain just feels so tired from trying to think about everything you have to do or remember. Our brains are only supposed to think about four to five things at a time. Most of us are trying to give our brain instructions to do ten things at once and wondering why we can’t get it all done in a day.

A Checklist is meant to help you reduce brain fatigue and help you make decisions quickly when you have too much coming at you at once. What is it that is important for you to get done so when someone comes to you and says “do you have a moment” or “can you do this” you can make a quick decision and say no without guilt because you have your main priorities on your list to get done? When you have completed them then they can come back to you for that moment or you can add something to your schedule because your main priorities are complete. What is most important for you to do each day? How will you make sure you do those important things that bring you quick success and are in alignment with your vision, mission, and values.

If you are making a list of everything you do in a day then you are not utilizing your skills and time the most effectively. Yes, you might feel good at the end of the day and release a little dopamine but why do that when you could use your time to write down the top ten things that you want to make sure you complete tomorrow to move your business forward? Image the dopamine rush when you land a new client because you returned the calls on your list. Now that’s the kind of rush I like to get.

What makes an effective checklist?

I believe that an effective daily checklist includes:

#1) The top three things you don’t want to do in your business. Do those the first thing every morning.

  • Make the call and fix what needs to get fixed. (Write their name and number down.)
  • Send the email that you have been avoiding. (Write down the name and subject.)
  • The sales calls that you are afraid to ask for the sale. (Name of the Lead and their number)

#2) The three people you want to connect with each day.

  • Potential clients
  • Relationship building
  • New people you met and want to get to know more about

#3) Items that have a time-sensitive date on them.

  • You made an agreement to have something done by a specific date
  • Contracts and proposals

#4) Something that makes you grow.

  • Workshops
  • Skill building classes
  • Reading for growth

Write out your list at the end of each workday for the next day. When you do that you can go to work and get started right away. No decisions first thing in the morning to start brain fatigue. You know what you need to do and you get right on it. If something creeps in and you need to add it to today’s list then do so. But each day you have a place to start. No guessing and no good reason to get distracted by the stuff that you are not meant to be doing until all the heavy work gets done.

I do this with my business and just know that upon occasion something comes up that is bigger than my list that needs to get done and my list goes out the window so to speak. It is meant to be a guide for you. To keep you focused on the most important things. It is not meant to bog you down and make you feel like a heavy ball and chain is there. Utilize a checklist don’t let it control you.

I have a daily life checklist that I use because these are important for me and my personal life vision, purpose, and values.

  • Moment of Prayer
  • Long Deep Hugs for My Husband
  • Take 5 Deep Breaths
  • Drink a 32oz Glass of Water
  • Send 1-2 Gratitude Texts or connect with a family member.
  • Read From a Book for 30 Minutes
  • Check In On My Goals
  • Spend 60 Minutes on Be A Legacy Business
  • Be Grateful for Something in Life
  • Check in With Self
    • How are you truly feeling?
    • Do you need any support?
    • Is something making you feel overwhelmed?
    • Do you feel loved?

Would it benefit you to have a daily life checklist?

I admit I am a paper gal. I like to hold a book in my hand when reading. I like to write out my lists and write letters on paper to people. So a paper list works really well for me. You might be great at having a digital checklist. There are a lot of “to-do list” apps out there. Reach out to your friends and ask them what works for them to help you discover what list app works great for you. Do a little research for yourself and find what will be most effective for you accomplishing your goals and create the income you are needing in your business.

I have also used programs like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and Slack with teams to keep project checklists in order. Find what works best for you and your personality. Sometimes App distractions like social media, email, and any bright shiny thing will take you away from getting the right things done so if you are going to utilize an app, do not let yourself get distracted and pulled away from what is most important!

If you are going to make a checklist do it in a way that makes you more efficient in your business not in a way that just takes away time and keeps you looking busy. It does make a difference and can reduce overwhelm and anxiety in your life when you are using the right systems and tools in the right way.

Now you can check reading this blog off your checklist!

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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