Look before you leap – Why I live by checklists
My son is now in first grade, and is becoming more independent and responsible. One of the more recent challenges we encountered was having him remember all of the items to include in his backpack as he prepares to head off to school. He forgot his library book one day and then he forgot his reading book another day. While I didn’t want to keep enabling him by packing up his backpack, I decided to set up a system whereby he has a checklist taped above his backpack and he is responsible for looking at it each morning to make sure that he has all important items in his bag. Guess what? It works!
Now, as a project manager I use checklists of various types and complexity on all sorts of activities, and I find them extremely helpful.
- RFP response – These checklists are especially helpful when you need to gather all the necessary attachments. There are also often formatting and/or printing requirements pertaining to government proposals and contracts.
- Style Guide – Organizations might use certain acronyms, terms, or even capitalize the name of a program differently. You can refer to this when you conduct a final review and copy edit of your proposal.
- Prospect Research – Have you looked at all the elements to prepare a robust research list that includes such items as applicable keyword terms, geographic preference, eligibility requirements and average award size?
- “To Do” list – We all have a running list of items that we need to do each day – do you have that organized into a succinct list or a process for prioritizing them? Sometimes creating a separate email folder, flagging items in your email or even writing them on a white board are great ways to remember. I use project management software to keep track of my straggling deadlines.
What is the next checklist you plan on preparing? I hope you get to cross off those items soon; it always feels good to complete everything on your list.