Checklists ✅

The very core principle at the base of many methodologies to improve productivity is the separation between planning and execution.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, it’s just important to keep them apart from each other. I have personally tried many different methods to do so, all equally successful and unsuccessful, depending on my discipline.

Having a TODO list is the key for productivity and I currently use Trello to keep a personal list of things to complete. Every evening I dedicate some time to organize my activities and it takes a few seconds to scroll through them.

Since I ditched all the paper lists, reminder lists, and pure text lists in favor of Trello I have experienced a few interesting advantages:

  • Better tracking of the completed activities: all the information about completed activities are retained and simply moved to the “completed” list.
  • Better management of activities with different timelines: there are activities that require a few days to be completed and others that just consist in a single action of a few minutes.
  • Better overview of very long term activities and sub-Checklists: it’s very convenient to break down long activities that require several weeks to be completed and have embedded checklists to make sure they proceed smoothly

The only catch in a checklist oriented methodology is the tendency to over complicate things. As soon as your list includes “make a list”, “check your todos”, and “do your job” immediately stop and consider yourself a recursive achiever. Take a break and start all over again.

Published by Luca Sartoni

I lead three teams of engineers across four continents at Automattic. I love hiking, photography, and 3D printers.

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