About six or seven years ago I was introduced to Atul Gawande and his Checklist Manifesto. To me it presented a compelling case for the benefit of using checklists. Don’t just trust me on that, read it.
Since then I have endeavoured to use the approach whenever I can. Particularly in the past few years when developing software it has been a god send. More recently the cause of checklists and how they can benefit teachers has been taken up by Harry Fletcher-Wood (@HFletcherWood) who has even managed to produce his own book on the subject. It was a recent blogpost of Harrys that prompted me to write this post.
Avid readers of this blog will have picked up that I am always looking for the best technology solution to the day-to-day slog of life. One of the big bugbears in my working day (and probably yours) is trying to maintain some sort of control over the list of things I have to do. I use a number of approaches to this, most of them involving lists of some sort.
The main one is simply a hardbound book in which I write the things I have to do when I find out about them. That’s the main store but is obviously linear in nature and not good for updating or sorting. As I get to the point where I have been able to organise everything into discrete jobs that I need to do I switch to WorkFlowy because it’s very easy just to add things and move them around the lists. Also it’s online so as I move from device to device the list is always visible. It has limited functionaility which is best at this stage of the process as it doesn’t get in the way of the real job at hand.
Both these work well but they are a little unstructured for me. So in the middle I use Trello. This helps me divide everything I need to do up into jobs and then get them done. It’s the link between the two.
If you’ve not seen Trello it resembles one of those metal job card holders you sometimes see on the wall in an office or factory. Write on the card what it is you have to do, put it in the right slot and Bob’s your uncle. Trello, being an online tool is a little more sophisticated than that, but not so sophisticated that it becomes too complex to use.
And one of the things Trello handles really well is, surprise surprise, checklists! So a very quick show and tell.
On Trello you can have many different boards:
Each board can be divided up into as many columns as you like. You can move cards from column to column using drag and drop.
In my working life the columns represent workflow. My aim is to get all the cards from one side to the other. Cards can be easily created and you can even create them by email, turning a message into a task.
The really nice thing is that when you click on a card it turns over to show all the additonal functionality, including the checklists.
You can add as many checklists to each card as you like just by typing the item in. As you check off the items the counter on the front of the card shows how many items you have done.
And here’s the really helpful bit.
Once you have created a checklist you can copy it to any card you like. So if you have a number of typical workflows created, or there are always a certain group of tasks to be completed for a similar job, you can copy an existing checklist.
Trello is free for most of the functionality you will need. If you are looking for a way to organise yourself and you like checklists I really recommend that you have a go.
Sorry, what was that? Yes, of course there’s an app.
That’s how I use Trello for my checklists.