My system for never forgetting the small things

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - April 23rd, 2014

checklist

Somedays I get to lunchtime, look back on my day and wonder what happened.

  • Writing
  • Accounting
  • Filming
  • Editing
  • Managing
  • Designing
  • Support
  • Sales

On a normal day all 8 of these happen before noon. When I was working at my corporate sales job, life was simpler.

Show up, clock in and start calling new clients.

Now, I have to do everything. If I’m not directly doing a task I have to oversee the task to make sure it is done correctly.

This causes me to forget to do the little things that have to get done everyday like budgeting, categorizing bank transactions, clearing out my email inbox, setting weekly and monthly goal.

Me and Bill quickly started having something in common.

Frustrated Bill Cosby

Frustrated Bill Cosby

I wanted to simplify things. I’m a simple dude and the easier something is the more likely it is to get done.

Now, I start everyday with the exact same task.

download (4) FInish Daily Checklist

That’s it.

Everyday, before I do anything else, I do my daily checklist.

Anytime I find a small recurring tasks that needs to get done, I throw it into the checklist.

It is my starting line everyday.

If I had a crazy weekend and everything is blurry on Monday morning, I start with the checklist.

If I traveled the last 2 days and I have a million emails and fires going everywhere, I start with the checklist.

If I crushed it the day before and everything is going great, the next day I still…start with the checklist.

Download a copy of the current version.

I use a tool called SweetProcess to manage the checklist.

It makes it easy to manage the different lists I have and gives you a super nice UI and editor to maintain and add to it.

You can embed videos, pictures, include links and make notes under the item. This is what it looks like:

Sweet Process in Action

Sweet Process in Action

The point isn’t to use a specific tool.

The point is to stop relying on your own memory to get things done and start building easily replicable systems that can become habitual.

Want to start your own?

Here are 3 steps to get going:

Step 1: Brainstorm a list of items that you want to do every morning. Use my checklist as a starting place. Keep this list to items that take less than 15 minutes to accomplish. Here are a few of the original items on my first checklist:

  • Pray before doing anything else
  • Check my bank account. Categorize Transactions
  • Write down 1 new blog post idea

Step 2: Choose the medium you want to store your checklist in.

I started with an Evernote note and then it evolved into using a SweetProcess checklist over the next several months. You can use any of these to get started

  • Paper (tape it to your desk)
  • Evernote
  • Google Docs
  • Word
  • Pages
  •  SweetProcess

Step 3: Set a calendar reminder and an alarm on your phone.

I start work everyday at 7 am. I setup my Google Calendar to send me an email reminder for “Do your Daily Checklist!!” every morning at that time.

I have a daily alarm set on my iPhone as well. You are all set. What you have created is a living document.

Add to it and take away from it. As you see new tasks that you need to be more consistent at on a daily basis, put them on your checklist. When you notice things that you don’t need to get done anymore, take them off

PS:  Owen over at SweetProcess offered a 28 day Free trial (double the normal length) to anyone that would like to try out their program.

Click here to get started.