We love checklists here at Asian Efficiency. They help you get things done quickly and without room for error. Any procedure that we use more than twice is documented in checklists so it’s safe to say that we are a little obsessed with checklists.
Anytime I find out that someone doesn’t use checklists, I look at them weird. “What do you mean you don’t have a checklist for this?” Then I realized most people actually don’t even have just one checklist. That has to change. Here are 10 checklists you should have that will instantly make you more effective and Asian Efficient.
1. Packing for Trips
The first one is a simple checklist for things you need to bring with you whenever you’re traveling. It’s no fun to go on a trip only to realize that you forgot something.
The more you travel, the more you will appreciate this checklist. Even if you only travel once or twice a year, it’s a good idea to make one so the packing process becomes smooth, easy and worry-free.
Here are some things you should consider on your packing checklist:
- laptop / phone / tablet chargers
- passport / ID
- tickets (flight, events, conferences, etc)
2. Before You Leave The House for Trips
Ever went on a trip only to realize you left the lights on? Really annoying, right?
After this happened to me a couple times, I decided to create a checklist of things I needed to do before I left the house. I use this checklist about an hour before I leave:
- unplug all cables, electronics and lamps in my bedroom
- close all windows and doors
- close all window blinds
- remove all food that could go bad from fridge
- take the trash out
- make sure I have all keys with me
3. Your Future Boyfriend / Girlfriend
I’m not joking here: having a checklist of basic ideals you want and don’t want in your future boyfriend/girlfriend will make the dating process a lot easier.
The key is to not make the list too long. Then you end up searching for unicorns and you’ll be single for life. Here are some ideas to put on there:
- shares similar philosophy on life
- my friends like her/him
- does not use drugs
- is not a stage–5 clinger
- has a good relationship with parent(s)
This list will inevitably change over time and through “trial-and-error”, but I can’t stress enough to NOT make this list too long. Normally having a long checklist is a good thing (it means it’s thorough) but this is the one exception where it’s a bad idea. It will hurt productivity in other ways.
4. Daily Rituals
A simple morning ritual might look like this (right after you wake up):
- drink 500mL of water
- use the bathroom
- stretch exercises
We have more suggestions in The AE Primer.
Your evening ritual, the things you do before you go to sleep, might look like this:
- use the bathroom
- read on tablet
We have more suggestions in The AE Primer.
5. Before Reformatting Your Computer
For the tech-savvy among us, make sure you have a checklist for the times when you need to reformat your computer. Nothing is more annoying than realizing after the reformat that you lost really important documents, pictures and footage.
Even if you don’t do the format yourself, make sure the other person knows what’s essential for you to backup.
6. Your Favorite Recipes
This one might be obvious, but I don’t see enough people do: make checklists for your favorite recipes!
I go through different phases of taste. Once a while I’m on a juicing streak, other times I’m all about smoothies and sometimes I just want simple and easy-to-prepare warm meals. What I’ve found though is that I’ll often forget one or two simple ingredients when I go back to a meal that I haven’t had in a while.
Ever since I started using recipe checklists, I never have this problem anymore. That means that my taste buds and stomach are always happy.
Here are a couple suggestions for checklists:
- anything you make once or twice a year (think meals around special holidays, e.g. Thanksgiving and Christmas)
7. The Bucket List
Everyone should have a bucket list – things you want to do once in your life. Whether that’s visiting Asian Efficiency Headquarters, or be in a movie or live abroad for a year – put all these things on a list.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- go on a road trip across America
- swim with dolphines
- run a marathon
- write a book
- fall in love
8. Maintenance Checklists
One undervalued aspect of things we need to do in life is maintaining things. Whether that’s relationships, email inboxes, software, our own life, our house, and such – we have to maintain them otherwise things will spin out of control.
I call these “maintenance checklists” and you can have lots of them. It really depends how far you want to go. You can have maintenance checklists for your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse that can have things like “go on a vacation once a year” or “surprise him/her with a gift” and things like that (I know what you’re thinking, I’m either crazy or a genius.) Here are some other ideas for your maintenance checklists:
- renewing contracts, ID, passport and insurance papers
- how to clean the fridge
- regular checkups for your own life (dentist, eyes, medications, etc)
- your personal technology systems (think about how you use particular software apps, e.g. OmniFocus or Evernote)
- basic car maintenance
9. Car Accident
Speaking of cars, recently my mom got into a (minor) car accident for the first time and she panicked because she didn’t know what to do. So she called me and I had tell all the things she needed to do.
Then I realized, it’s probably best if she has a checklist on what to do for next time. Plus, I didn’t know myself all the necessary steps so I created one for her and myself. Now you can use it too. When you’re in a car accident, the last thing you want to do is worry about if you have sufficient information.
Here’s what my checklist looks like:
- do not leave the scene of the accident
- call the police
- do NOT admit fault
- take pictures of all cars involved
- take pictures of license plates of all cars involved
- take pictures of all people involved
- exchange insurance information (insurance company, policy number)
- take picture of insurance papers of the other party
- take picture of registration papers of other party
- take picture of drivers license of other party
- get name, phone and address of driver(s)
- write down time, location of accident
- get contact info of any witnesses
10. Anything That’s A Repeatable Process
Anything that can be repeated can be translated into a checklist and I would highly encourage you to have a thought about this.
What are you constantly dealing with that can be streamlined in a checklist? What’s annoying you and how can you make a checklist to prevent that from happening each time? How can you minimize the errors whenever you’re doing a particular activity?
All these can be turned into a checklist – so make your own inventory of checklists and start using them.
By now you’ve probably realized how useful checklists can be. They make it easy to get things done fast and accurately. Especially when you’re short on time, checklists can be a life saver because you won’t have to think – all you have to do is follow the steps.
When it comes to managing them and using specific technology solutions, there are a couple options we recommend:
- Use Evernote for storing and managing your checklists. That way you can have it with you anywhere, anytime.
- Use OmniFocus and its repeating tasks feature for daily checklists and processes (we show you how in OmniFocus Premium Posts).
Is there any checklist that you’re using that everyone else should be too? Did we miss an important checklist? Let us know in the comments below!
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