Accomplishing a goal or completing a task can be a very satisfying thing. It is an indication that your efforts have paid off and you are ready for the next big challenge. Our brains are wired to derive pleasure from wins because human beings are naturally competitive even if the competition is with oneself.
Simply checking-off a task on your to-do list has been shown to release dopamine in your brain, the feel-good hormone that is responsible for the excitement we feel for various things or reasons and that is why having a checklist helps in guiding you to always getting things done. Here is how to make an effective checklist.
Define the overall goal
The first step is to decide what is to be achieved in the long run. This will help you get a clear picture of what you are working towards and give you a rough idea of how to get there. Moreover, it will help you in the next steps below.
Break down the overall goal into tasks
Once you know what the goal is, you are able to define activities that will help you to achieve it. These act as milestones which help you work progressively towards the general goal. Write down the overall goal and then list the activities that you are to do so that you can achieve the goal. The list should move from the most basic to the final activity. This list is what you will check off as you work towards achieving the goal.
Keep track of the activities
Ensure that you stay committed to the activities, to help you get a sense of achievement. Ticking them off helps you feel good about yourself as you will see yourself progressively accomplishing the general goal. This has the effect of boosting your productivity, as it amounts to small wins.
Ensure that the activities are SMART
Smart stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. The tasks should be those that you can keep track of and know when they are complete. You should also allocate time for each task to help you stay committed and gauge yourself. This also helps you to pay attention to each activity and in case you need to rest, you can include it in the tasks.
Why Checklists Improve Your Productivity
Turns mundane exercises into fun activities
Just like in gaming, work is made fun by accomplishments. Games are made interesting by the ability to amass points as a person’s scores increase. The use of tasks broken down using checklists has the same effect as amassing points. It is an indication of accomplishments which eventually lead to a greater achievement.
They act as rewards
You can reward yourself each time you complete a task by having checklists. Everyone likes getting rewarded for their effort and checking off those activities is an act of reward that can significantly boost your productivity.
You train your brain to stay focused on the goal
Checklists make it easy to stay focused as you can see your progress towards achieving the final goal.
Getting started with checklists
Checklists will help you remember every activity that you need to accomplish even in busy environments since you keep track of your progress. If you have trouble creating a schedule, there are online resources that provide customizable templates to get you started..
The use of checklists is something that everyone can benefit from and can help in boosting your productivity. Apart from helping you make small wins and dissect large tasks into small, manageable activities, it can also help you organize your work. This helps you clear all your work progressively and can be a major boost to your productivity as it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Do you use checklists? Let us know how they have helped you be more productive.
This article originally appeared here