Checklists as a Simple Tool

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

Checklists are great tools to help us stay on track with many things. I have always used checklists to make sure everything was completed and to validate I did not miss out on something.

I see the checklist as one of the simplest tools that signals that there is a process in place. I am a big fan of processes although sticking with them is something I struggle with.

Keeping them simple

Every time you create a checklist you add tasks to whatever process you are trying to accomplish. The biggest problem that what might have started as a simple checklist can become a huge monster and something that instead of making the process more efficient or effective it does neither.  Stay away from complicating a simple process.

Individual Tools

I use different types of checklists to handle my daily tasks. One of the checklists tools I use is Things that synchronizes on my Mac, iPod, and iPad. This way I can keep track of everything that is going on and create tasks on any of my devices (which I have at hand and ready to take notes and jot down more tasks). In the office I also make post it notes which I post all over my walls in different places depending on where the task should go.

When I don’t have my post it notes or I am out of the office I might also use a small notepad. Other than investing in Things software I have to say that the other tools are very inexpensive to acquire.

Easy to Understand

Where I think most checklists fail is when you really don’t have a clear idea of how to execute them. If you follow our first point of keeping it simple then it is easier to implement and have other team members follow your lead. Then if you can all use a similar system it makes it easier for getting team goals accomplished.

Tools for a Team

If you are working as a team there are many ways to keep checklists going some people use Google doc’s, email, or project management software. If you have a complex project using software like Podio might help you keep and assign tasks to other team members. Podio is free up to 25 users per project. If you are running a small and simple project Podio might be a bit of overkill so keep in mind that when you choose a tool it is suppose to improve and speed up the process. If the tool takes more time without enhancing the process you really should consider another option.

Checklists can be the simplest form of making sure you accomplish something but if not used consistently can be a waste of time and useless.

Why do you create checklists? How do you manage them?

What things have you found that make checklists useful or useless over time?


  1. Gabriele Maidecchi on October 18, 2011 at 5:06 am

    The human brain works a lot better by feeding it with actionable items, something you can “measure”, we’re sort of like computer on this, which isn’t bad at all.
    I was about to buy Things a while ago but then I was lucky enough to stumble on Wunderlist, which is a free app for a big list of devices (mac included, as long with iphone and ipad) all sync’d “on the cloud” with each other. Plus, it really has all the features you’d expect from a Things-like premium application. I never really realized why it’s free, since it doesn’t even have ads, but hey, all the better.

    • Raul Colon on October 18, 2011 at 9:22 am


      Although I love Things I am very disappointed that they have a lot of limitations including that I can’t share tasks with other team members which I bought the app for. 

      I know @chrisbrogan  uses Wunderlist and now that you are using it I might have to take a look and give it a try. 

      I have to agree if we feed the Brain we get more accomplished. 

  2. bob on September 1, 2014 at 11:02 am – good checklist, shareable and re-suable, free!

  3. Achileas Liras on June 30, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Trello is one of the first and most popular task management tools that exist, although there are also other new and more complete solutions in terms of collaboration that can offer much more than a simple business software. One of them is Comidor ( which is based on cloud and is a full package for every small- medium business