How to make a checklist

Ted Scott
Ted Scott
12 March 2024
10 min

Human memory is not unlimited. It is impossible to keep in one’s head many important tasks, everyday tasks that require prompt execution during the day. And even more so to control the time and quality of their fulfillment. To work with large volumes of information, its timely systematization, project-management uses a special tool – check-list, which is a checklist of cases, tasks that require mandatory check after completion.

LeaderTask app, in which you can create a checklist

Make checklists in LeaderTask planner, structure and organize your daily to-dos for better control over your tasks. List items can be rearranged, prioritized, assigned statuses, highlighted with colors, and reminded to complete them.

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What it is

A check list is a list of actions in the form of a to-do list, in which marks are made after each step has been completed. With the help of a check list, you can control any process: from launching a new project at your company to starting a machine or manufacturing equipment. Using checklists, it is easier to avoid mistakes when performing repetitive tasks. In front of your eyes you will always have a complete form that tells you how to perform each step efficiently and competently according to the sample. For the first time checklists began to be written in the field of aviation. After the crash of a new model of Boeing in 1934, which happened as a result of a flight crew error, it became clear that it was difficult for pilots to control the processes of takeoff, flight and landing without losing sight of important details. Therefore, detailed aircraft maintenance instructions were developed to explain what to do in ordinary, critical or dangerous situations.

The first production checklists were used to control and test complex technologies and technical processes. Gradually checklists began to be used in other spheres of human life. A properly compiled to-do list will help you get rid of nervous tension that inevitably arises when trying to keep in your head an endless number of routine daily tasks. Filling out a checklist perfectly motivates, raises self-esteem. In the process of going through the checklist, noting the fulfillment of the next item, a person feels a sense of satisfaction, realizing that the next task has been achieved. This means that he is even closer on the way to achieving the main goal.

Proper check-lists come in household and professional. Writing check-lists is very useful in running a business or personal life. Today we will try to tell you why and how to make a check-list, how to design a check-list, its properties, how it differs from other lists and what functions it performs.

Distinctive features

Quite often this tool is compared to step-by-step plans, guidebooks or to-do lists. In some sources, the names to do list and checklist are referred to as synonyms. But, such a statement is incorrect, considering how a checklist looks like. These tools really help to memorize information, simplify the control of tasks. Here their common features end.

Distinction from the to-do list

To-do lists are used to work on specific tasks. For example, making a cake should consist of these steps: buying the necessary ingredients, preparing the equipment, kneading, baking the dough, washing the dishes, etc. In the to-do list, tasks can be swapped, removed or rescheduled. The checklist requires that every action on the checklist be completed.

Distinction from the bagpipe

A guide is a guide to action, or a test experience. It is an introduction or practical recommendations for dummies on how best to perform a particular task by following a sequence of steps. As an example, you can give a guide to working in Photoshop or a recipe for a dish.

Difference from the plan

A step-by-step plan is a step-by-step instruction that must be followed exactly within the plan to achieve the desired result. And in a checklist, the sequence of actions is not so important. The main thing is that all the items described in it are done.

What it’s for

checklist task

The main purpose of checklists is to structure, organize daily to-do’s. They help:

  • Write all daily tasks in a single list.
  • See that they are completed on time.
  • Next, check the result and the progress made.

Such a designer is necessary to organize efficient work on processes. Checklists are used by different employees. For example, in restaurants or fast food establishments. Such lists are given to bartenders, waiters, cooks of the establishment after a preliminary briefing. After the briefing, they can begin their independent duties.

Checklists are used by testers at special services to check the serviceability of complex equipment or to check the indicator of fire safety problems in buildings and structures. Checklists are also often used in testing and research.

Nowadays, they have evolved from a paper list into a complete digital product that can be delivered to an audience as a file that remains practical and informative. There is a huge variety of them, they are sold, used to attract leads, the basis for collecting contact details from customers or used as bonuses for purchases.

Advantages of application

Helps to display the content of the process in a list, solving a variety of tasks related to daily planning. With a checklist, you can break down any complex process into individual steps without losing sight of any important details. Working with a checklist improves productivity. Reduces the chance of mistakes, helps you focus on serious processes. Other benefits:

  • Simplifying delegation of authority. With detailed instructions in the checklist, it will be easier for employees to deal with the tasks assigned to them without the threat of loss of quality.
  • Practical help to the manager in tracking the progress of work with the ability to make corrections at any stage. Thanks to a clear checklist algorithm, it is much easier and faster to check tasks.
  • Motivation and self-discipline. The visualization of the work process gives strength and desire to complete the planned tasks as soon as possible. Seeing your progress, a person gets additional incentive for further work, realizes how much work is done and how much is left.
  • High-quality analytics. All checklist information can be opened and structured, converted into graphs, charts or bar charts that clearly show productivity changes.
  • Improving work processes. By following the right instructions, employees will do the job the way it needs to be done. They will not overlook any important points on the checklist.
  • Time management. By working from a template, staff won’t have to spend time planning their day on a daily basis, which means that employees will have a clear understanding of how and what to do next.

That is, checklists help to effectively organize work processes, to track the progress made or the result obtained, to assess whether the service or product received meets the established requirements.

Rules of drafting

Checklists fall into two main groups:

  • Read-Do. They are essential for newcomers. By reading a manual, employees follow the steps in the manual one by one, noting the steps that have been completed.
  • Do-Confirm (Execute and check execution). This option will be convenient for professionals who need self-monitoring. In this case, after the tasks are completed, their correctness is checked against the list.

Drawing up a checklist is not a complicated process, but it does require following some rules:

  • One checklist item – one action. This will make it easier to navigate through the checklist.
  • The affirmative or imperative form of the checklist for all items. For the Read-Do format, the following tasks would be correct: Order promotional booklets. Pay for the order. Pick up the finished products. For a Do-Confirm list: Ordered the booklets. Paid. Pick up the products.
  • The whole cycle should fit into 20 items. If there are more, the task is broken down into several subtasks and a separate checklist is made for each one.
  • Entries should be concise and brief. No more than 5 words per paragraph.
  • Only essential information directly affecting the outcome should be listed.

Complex lists are color-coded. Each task is assigned its own color. Set a deadline for each step. This makes it easier to control the workflow.

Options for everyday life

checklists for everyday life

For personal use, the following formats are suitable:

  • Useful Habits Tracker. The main function is to track a regularly recurring action. For example, a checklist for attending a gym class or drinking water before meals every day.
  • Bingo. This format has become widespread in social networks. It looks like an image divided into sectors, each of which contains a phrase characterizing people’s behavior. If it corresponds to your life position, it is crossed out or put a check mark next to it. The topics can be absolutely any. For example: “Work meetings”, “Finances” or “Learning Spanish”.
  • A list of mistakes. Its purpose is to remind you of the most common mistakes and to prevent their repetition. This format is suitable for checking the work done by contractors.
  • Lifehacks, useful tips. Aimed at optimizing any processes. For example, how to do something, tips on how to make a resume, learn Spanish in 20 steps, etc.

Processes and objectives

Processes are specific actions on the way to achieving a goal. They can be one-time or periodic: daily, weekly, quarterly. In checklists, processes are written out in the form of individual steps that need to be taken to solve the task at hand. Example: a list of things to do for a trip.

Checklists are convenient to use for controlling various processes:

  • Progress checks when tracking key tasks in time management or project management.
  • Checks the correctness of the completed work. The criteria can be used to assess how well and professionally the assignment has been completed.
  • Estimates of the technical characteristics of the product. Example: supporting documentation indicating the amount of RAM, system performance of a computer or other complex machinery.
  • Collecting data for analysis. If you are collecting information about potential competitors, you will find it easier to organize your information based on points.

How to make a checklist

Checklists are created on plain paper, spreadsheets, modern text editors. The information field is divided into three columns. In the first one write down the item numbers, in the second one – the essence of the task, and in the third one put a mark on its fulfillment. One paragraph contains one action described in several words. The information contained in it should not be a reason for thinking. Only concrete actions and a mark of completion.

It should fit completely on the main screen of a computer, other digital device, without the need to scroll down. It is desirable to use no more than two colors to highlight important information, so that you are not distracted by bright elements while using the tool.

If you don’t know how to create a check-list that will be a step-by-step guide for your work and personal life, specialized digital services can help you. We’ve gathered the best of them in our next selection.

Top 11 services for creating checklists


Best Planner Apps for Android

A popular digital application for planning, organizing collaboration on projects, helping to structure all important information, storing it in one place with the possibility of remote access. Checklists in LeaderTask are created directly in the body of tasks. It is especially convenient when there are several topics in a task. For example, creating commercials. By crossing off ready-made variants, it is easier to focus on uncompleted topics.

One of the program’s bonuses is the ability to print out checklists of tasks. You can rearrange items on the list, assign them by importance and priority, assign them statuses, highlight them with colors, and set reminders for their execution. Systematize repetitive controls and actions by creating a list of regularly recurring tasks.


A functional planner that combines two main options: creating checklists and daily calendar planning. In the application you can track the percentage of tasks completion, share them with other users. Tags, notes, and other files can be attached to tasks. The service functions in conjunction with Google Calendar. It supports free and advanced basic versions.


An easy-to-understand and easy-to-manage task manager that offers users an “advanced” set of features for efficient workflow and time management. The application has the ability to create prioritized task lists. It supports options to add tags and comments. You can create reminders in the program as text or use the voice dialing function. Tasks can also be created directly from email.


Users appreciated the service for the ability to automatically create lists of tasks to be moved to after the first stages are completed. The goals and tasks in the program have a tree structure that clearly demonstrates the state of affairs at the moments of interest. The application is ideal for creating Read-Do lists that require all actions to be performed in the prescribed order.


A serious and mature product on the market, a multifunctional service for structuring and organizing things, successfully replacing several popular applications. Suitable for creating and working on text documents, tables. Allows you to save in one place any content, including video, audio files, maps or other materials. Has a rich set of templates for creating task lists. Integrates with many popular digital services, including Invision, Twitter, Google Drive or others. Helps to organize effective collaboration on any complex projects.

Remember The Milk

Comfortable to use, modern application for those who never forget anything. The planner will send a notification about an upcoming event or activity in advance via SMS, popular messengers or e-mail. Synchronization with Google Maps will ensure that the message is delivered to its destination. In the application you can create tasks, create lists of tasks, delegate tasks to other executors.


A professional electronic service for small businesses, designed for planning, creating reports, and managing remote employees via a mobile application. The program functionality includes personnel productivity tracking, joint teamwork via corporate chat. Works on mobile devices.


A beautiful, easy-to-use tool for creating graphic materials, you don’t need any design skills to master and get started. You can create checklists in it directly from a collection of templates. In the application you can make spectacular presentations, original design of posts in social networks.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express

The program has a huge number of templates that can be adapted to your own needs. Among the minuses it is worth noting the need to pay extra for original fonts and other nice “features”. But, in general, the service is interesting and worthy.


A modern, feature-rich scheduler with the ability to create up to 100 lists for free. In the paid version these limitations are removed. In the program you can work in different formats, share information with colleagues, add notes, comments to tasks, insert tasks into your own or someone else’s schedule.

Google Keep

Google Extension lets you create daily lists online. Share them with friends, colleagues or acquaintances. You can add notes, voice files, photos to tasks, create reminders of events by location. The service has a function of combining tasks with grouping by color, priority.


To make a checklist a useful tool for any personal or professional task, it should be organized in a consistent, concise and logical manner. It will help to break down complex processes into individual steps, which will be easier to track and control.

Each action list should focus on a different topic and address a specific task. It is not necessary to include all aspects of your activities. This will only confuse you with a huge amount of unnecessary information.

Using checklists and following simple rules of their compilation, you can easily put your affairs and plans in order, tracking their fulfillment on paper or in special digital applications.

Professional Task Planner and Organizer
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