The Work Wins Checklist: How to Crush it at Work (But Only Every Day)

I’m not sure if it’s for you…but I created a tool that might 2x (or 10x) your productivity at work each day.

The tool is a checklist. Which might sound boring.

But it works.

A few years ago, I created my first Daily Wins Checklist (DWC). I wanted a tool to help me stay accountable to my biggest priorities on a daily basis.

As I’ve coached more high-achieving clients, I’ve reaffirmed that a checklist is one of the easiest AND most powerful tools you can add to your life. 

Heck, Atul Gawande wrote an entire book on this topic, The Checklist Manifesto.

Making a Powerful Checklist it’s pretty simple. 

  1. Clarify what works best for you in a given area.
  2. Create a checklist that includes those habits, behaviors, routines, etc.
  3. Use the checklist. Every. Single. Day. Or, as often as you want to achieve the results of working that system. (You might not always feel like using the tool. But do you want to reap the rewards of it? If so, use it.) 

My first DWC was full of health goals. I put my energy management fundamentals onto the checklist first. I knew if I got those right, the rest of my life would work better. With higher quality energy and attention, I’d have more to give to my work and relationships.

But I realized recently that I haven’t been applying the benefits of checklists as widely as I could. Specifically, in the area of Work.

Focus, Productivity, and Effectiveness are Skills You Can Develop

In my conversations with clients, I’ve come to understand just how difficult it can be to consistently create super-productive work days.

Yet…and I’m not trying to boast…I’ve been doing this daily for years.
I don’t think I’m the world’s most productive person. But the quality and quantity of my output is an order of magnitude higher than it used to be.

I didn’t used to be focused, effective, or particularly productive. 
For most of my life, I was kinda lazy. When I was younger, I wanted to succeed.…but what I really wanted was to do just enough to “get by.” 

Then I had a wake-up call. I was nearly fired from my first job after university. 

Looking back on that experience, I can see that *I* wasn’t the problem. The problem was in my approach to my work.

I had potential. But I fumbled the ball in execution, day after day. Without even realizing it.

Since then, I’ve made a game out of learning how to increase my creative and productive potential.

The main thing I’ve learned is this: Focus, productivity and effectiveness are skills you can develop. You just have to know what to practice.

Which is why I created a tool to help you direct your daily work practice towards building these skills. I’m calling it the Work Wins Checklist. (WWC for short) And it’s the tool I wish I could give to my past-self to help them tap into their working potential.

The Work Wins Checklist: How to Crush it at Work (But Only Every Day)

The WWC includes twelve practices you can use to be more productive, maintain higher levels of performance, and stay focused on the things that matter most.

I call these the Daily Dozen Work Practices.

To develop your productivity, focus, and effectiveness “muscles”…you need repetitions of practice!

Which is, in the end, why we use a tool like this. It’s not about the tool. It’s about the impact and growth that the tool can help you create.

Here’s what can happen when you put this into practice:

  • You’ll raise your standards. Your previous best will become the new baseline.
  • You’ll feel more energized because you’re approaching your work in a sustainable manner.
  • You can end the work day with a satisfied smile, knowing you’ve brought your A-game to the day.

Okay, enough talk. Let’s dive into the tool!

Download your copy of the Work Wins Checklist here.

Get Your Work Wins Checklist

The checklist and daily planner to amplify your focus, effectiveness, and productivity.

You'll also get a weekly email with new mindful tips to try. Powered by ConvertKit

The Daily Dozen Work Practices

This checklist has three parts:

  1. Ending the Day on a High Note
  2. Beginning the Day With Clarity
  3. Maintaining Momentum During the Day

It starts with the end of the day because what you do at the end of each day sets up how successful the beginning of your next day is. 
I’ll say that again. How you END each day determines how you BEGIN the next one. 

So let’s start at the very beginning of the your day…the end of your last one.

1) Ending the Day on a High Note

1. Celebrate at Least 3 Wins From Your Day. Fill in the blank: “Today was a success because _________.” The mind is wired to focus on the negative. Make a habit of celebrating your wins to build satisfaction and momentum.   

2. Note at Least 2 Opportunities to Grow. Every day gives you fresh fodder for your growth. Acknowledge what needs work without judgment and recommit to showing up at your best the next day. 

3. Line up Tomorrow’s Dominoes. Identify your 3 Most Important Tasks (MIT’s) for the next day. What 3 tasks, if completed, would make the biggest difference for you? Declaring these ahead of time prevents you from wasting time in the morning trying to figure out what to do.

4. Park Your Work Downhill. After identifying your 3 MIT’s, organize your workspace so you can step directly into your day’s most important task in the morning. This way, you’ll start every day with momentum.

5. Shut the Door on Your Work. After priming yourself for tomorrow, allow yourself to completely let go of work for the rest of the day. This gives you the chance to recover fully to make tomorrow as good as it can be. And it enables you to stay fully present to the non-work parts of your life.

2) Beginning the Day With Clarity

6. Reconnect With Your Most Important Tasks. You outlined your 3 MITs last night. Refresh them in your mind by writing them down.

7. Estimate How Much Time Each Task Will Take. (Or how much time you intend to give to each task.) There’s no use putting 18 hours of to-do’s on your list for the day. You want to take on enough work to stretch you into your potential without overwhelming you. 

8. Do Creative Work Before Reactive Work. This one is essential. (And one of the most difficult.) You are most creative and productive at the beginning of the day when your attention hasn’t been compromised by other to-do’s, emails, and unimportant stimuli. To be creative before reactive, eliminate as many external inputs as possible until after you’ve given creative attention to your #1 MIT. (e.g. Don’t check any email until after you’ve done your #1 most important creative task of the day.) 

9. Start Each Day With Your #1 Most Important Task. As Peter Drucker puts it, “First things first. Second things, not at all.”

3) Maintaining Momentum During the Day

10. Create Focus Checkpoints by Asking “What’s Important Now?” Use this question at each transition point in your day. Focus doesn’t just stay “on” like a light switch. It’s more like a campfire. You need to tend to it throughout the day, or it will go out.

11. Use “Time Blocks” to Solo-Task. Multitasking is a myth. Time-blocking is a strategy to stay focused on one thing at a time. I recommend the Pomodoro Technique. It works like this. First, pick one task to focus on. Second, set a 25 minute timer, and work on that task for the duration of that timer. When your timer goes off, stop working and make a note of your completed time block. Finish the cycle by taking a 3-5 minute rejuvenating break. Then, repeat the process. One thing at a time. One step at a time. 

12. Reboot Your MindWith a Midday Refresh. Our circadian rhythms cause us to experience an energy dip in the middle of each day. Work with this by doing something to reset that isn’t “drink more caffeine”. Take a nap. Meditate. Go for a walk outdoors. Get some exercise.

Start Your Practice Today

A dozen practices may seem like a lot at first glance. But each piece of the system works well with the others.

Building the habit takes some time. But once the system is running, you’ll never go back to your old way of working.

Start your practice today by grabbing a copy of the Work Wins Checklist below.

Take it one section at a time. Build your practice up one day at a time.
And before you know it, you’ll be crushing it at work…but only every day. ?

Get Your Work Wins Checklist

The checklist and daily planner to amplify your focus, effectiveness, and productivity.

You'll also get a weekly email with new mindful tips to try. Powered by ConvertKit