When it comes to simplifying your life using checklists, routines, and systems are one step in helping you become more efficient.  Sometimes you need to create your own system based entirely on your situation and personality, other times you can use a checklist exactly as someone else created it, and every so often you can take a successful system and adapt it to fit you.

(For more information on situations when creating your own system work best – I invite you to read The Real Truth Behind One Size Fits All.)

For guidelines on choosing premade systems – please visit Celebrating Simplify Your Life Week – Systems!
Today, I am going to share a system I’ve adapted – and then a routine I created.  At the beginning of July I chose to participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  I wrote 31 posts in 31 days.  The creators of this challenge, Michelle Shaeffer and Michele Scism, offered a worksheet to track your progress.

The steps they included were:

  • Create the blog post
  • Tweet the post using #blogboost
  • Post the URL to the Facebook Group
  • Comment on a post or 2

After a few days, I realized I wanted a few more steps on my checklist, so I added:

  • Create the blog post
  • Put url and blurb on Google Drive
  • Tweet the post using #blogboost
  • Promote post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter using Social Oomph
  • Post the URL to the Facebook group
  • Comment on a post or 2
  • Connect on social media with bloggers whose posts I comment on
  • Connect on social media with bloggers who comment on my post
  • Reciprocate comments for people who comment on my post
  • Promote posts on social media that my tribe may find value in

The worksheet Michelle and Michele created was a great first step for me.

As this is the first challenge I participated in, I was unsure of the etiquette involved, so their checklist took away the guessing.  However, after a few days, I realized I wanted to use this challenge not only to create more posts (I had been posting 2 – 3 times per month), but also to network more.  So, I needed a few new steps and I added them to the checklist.

I also created a routine.

  • First, I gathered my resources.
    • I have a folder on my desk that includes my checklist, a cheat sheet for posting YouTube videos on my blog and editing videos on my iPad, and a title generator cheat sheet (created by Michelle Shaeffer).
    • I also have a Favorites Folder online that contains various resources to use when creating pictures.
    • I created a folder on Google Drive that contains my editorial calendar and the urls and blurbs for each post.  (My VA and I share the docs on Google Drive.  She pulls the urls and blurbs for my newsletter and also for social media posts on Social Oomph.)
  • Then I write.
    • I create my post
    • I create my title
    • Create the pictures
    • Insert links
  • Finally, I promote by following my checklist.

I’ve been following this routine and checklist for about a month – and have found I’ve cut the implementation portion of posting and promoting down in about half.

It’s important to note that the routine isn’t “done.”  I’m constantly reevaluating ways to improve.

  • For example, I tried to insert a pin from Pinterest and realized I forgot the steps.  So, I added the steps to my cheat sheet with the video editing and YouTube steps.
  • I also realized that when I create the post online, I’m tempted to play around with the formatting before I finish writing – which then extends the amount of time it takes me to write.  I now write my post in word (internet off!) and copy and paste into the post.
  • The next set of steps I’ll add to my checklist is repurposing.  Currently my blog post is used in my newsletter.  However, this content can also be used on social media, YouTube, podcasts, eBooks, etc.

The evaluation and adaptation piece is never complete!
If you blog consistently, I encourage you to adapt my routine and checklist to fit your style and personality.   If you don’t blog, the process will still work for you.

  1. Find a checklist for any activity you do more than once.
  2. Use the checklist a few times.
  3. Add and delete pieces based on your situation.
  4. Continue to revisit and revise as appropriate.

Where do you use systems, routines and checklists?  What are some of your favorite resources?  I’d love to know – please post below!

I’m happy this process has saved so much time for myself and my clients. You only have 168 hours in a week, right? So it pays to use them wisely. Find out how you use your 168 – download my free Magic 168 Action Guide! The answers may surprise you!