eProductivity Weekly Tip: December 9, 2010   

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Weekly Tip: Don't Lose Your Mind, Use a Checklist Instead

Losing your mind trying to remember the details of certain tasks, such as the 48 bazillion steps to prepare your family's holiday meal? There's a better way.

For the next handful of tips, we'll be discussing special eProductivity Reference categories that you can use to store specific types of information. This week, we're taking a look at Checklists.

Previous articles in the eProductivity Reference tip series: Part 1 | Part 2
Introduction to Checklists
Checklists are a memory enhancement technique for tasks or processes that follow a consistent pattern. The classic example is the pre-flight checklist for airplane pilots, to ensure that the airplane is ready for flight and no mission-critical steps have been forgotten.

Another favorite example of GTD creator David Allen is the packing list for a trip. Who hasn't forgotten their toothbrush when packing?

When the task or process has many steps (or even just a few!) to complete, it's very easy to leave something out. And when something is forgotten, what's the result? Stress! Anguish! Outrage!

OK, normally not that extreme of a reaction, but it's still pretty frustrating to forget something routine. So our suggestion is to stop losing your mind and start using checklists!
Checklists in eProductivity Reference
Creating a checklist is as simple as opening a new Reference entry and starting to write down your list. You can also click the "New Checklist" button to create a new entry already assigned to the Checklist category.

New Checklist button

Now, eProductivity Reference provides a dedicated Checklists category. You can use it to store all kinds of lists...

Checklist example

Use your imagination for what items you put into a checklist - the possibilities are endless!
Accessing Your Checklists
Once items are in the Checklists category, besides just going to your eProductivity Reference and browsing the categories, eProductivity provides a number of special ways to access them quickly and at relevant moments.

For instance, when doing a weekly review using the Weekly Review Coach™, you're provided the opportunity to open and review any items in your Checklists category.

Another way to see them is to set up a direct link to your checklists from the eProductivity navigator. To do so, go to the eProductivity preferences and access the Navigation > Main Navigator tab. Then select the Checklists option as shown below.

Checklists link on the eProductivity navigator

You'll be prompted when you open the Checklists link, so you may wish to disable the prompt by deselecting the "Notify me..." option. When you've made all your choices, save & close the preferences and restart eProductivity for the changes to take effect.

When you go back into eProductivity, you'll see a Checklists link on the left-hand eProductivity navigator. Clicking that link will take you directly to your Checklists section inside eProductivity Reference.

Locating the Checklists link
Until Next Week...
You've seen examples of how Checklists can benefit you and how to use them inside of eProductivity Reference (and eProductivity). More Reference tips coming your way next week!

If you have a tip to share or a topic you'd like to see covered, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you!