The Secret Power Of Checklists

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber of Amazing World Media argues that one of the best productivity tools she's ever used are checklists. She shares how she's using checklists to unlocking productivity. The post The Secret Power Of Checklists appeared first on Young Upstarts.

The Secret Power Of Checklists

by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber, COO of Ever Widening Circles and Founder of Amazing World Media

What if there was a free tool that could bring you the same success as astronauts, surgeons, and engineers? And that could help reduce stress and anxiety? Wouldn’t you want to use it? Well, grab a pen and some paper! In the next 10 minutes, you’re going to discover the almost-too-easy-to-be-true way these folks are able to increase their productivity and decrease their stress in some seriously stressful situations!

So, what is this secret master skill? The skill that, when employed in hospitals, decreases complication rates by 35%, and death rates 47%? The one that NASA uses to launch its shuttles and make spacewalks possible?

It’s nothing complicated, really; or time-consuming, at that. It all simply begins with a list.

Yes, a list.

Listen, the world is complex. Have you ever stared at the mountain of work in front of you and just been overwhelmed by the complexity of it all? You start your day wondering, how am I supposed to get that project done for work, get my workout done, feed myself—maybe even my family as well — spend time with my loved ones, clean my space, and do it all in time to get my requisite 8 hours of sleep?

Phew, I’m exhausted, stressed, and want to roll over and go back to bed already.

So, how, in the face of all this complexity, do we pause, work through this, and leave ourselves with more than enough time to “do it all”? All while not forgetting to bake brownies for the kiddos’ fundraiser or miss that last-minute conference call?

It’s time we bring in the professionals on this one. Because the answer here is so simple, it’s important you know why it all works and the impact this simple fix can have!

To walk us through this journey to the ultimate, time-tested tool for productivity, we turn to the fabulous creator and thinker Matt D’Avella!

Matt D’Avella creates some incredible content that explores all corners of productivity, life hacks, and interesting ways of trying out new lifestyle ideas. He’s got some great insights to enjoy over on his YouTube page!

You can check out the books he mentioned, “Essentialism” and “The Checklist Manifesto“, as well. They are a great starting resource for anybody who wants to adopt a few more checklists in their life!

Get Your Checklist On!

Alright, do you have your pen and paper now? Let’s get listing!

I heard about NASA’s checklist system a while ago when I listened to astronaut Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (which is a great read, too). In it, he talks about how there was a checklist for absolutely everything they did and how it made an enormous task like a spacewalk so much easier to process. In a place where a million things can go wrong, if you have a checklist to run through, you spend a lot less time worrying about if you forgot something and are able to spend far more time focusing on the tasks at hand.

Like any habit, getting into checklists is a process. Choose one place in your life to try out checklisting and then suddenly, you’ll find new places to list. It’s not about giant overhauls to your systems, it’s about making small, incremental, and sustainable progress.

Not sure where to start?

Think about a routine you have that causes you a lot of stress. Maybe it’s getting the kids ready in the morning, or a particularly complicated issue at work that you only have to deal with every once in a while (and have to keep re-teaching yourself how to do… looking at you, printer). Whatever it is, the next time you do it, try out this checklist from the video:

  • Observe your own process on something
  • Record your process (Somehow.)
  • Try to do it again using the process you recorded
  • Refine your process (Did you forget any important steps?)
  • Teach the process to others! (If it’s a task you can delegate)

Give this process a go and see if it relieves your stress or anxiety about the tasks ahead! I can say from personal experience that I’ve seen my anxiety about work decrease astronomically when I adopted my checklist habit. (Not to mention, I’ve started using a checklist when I go to the grocery store now and I’m saving so much time and wasting so much less food!)

Ways to stick with it!

Some people find it super useful to make a checklist of tasks for the next day before they go to bed. It makes it easier for them to go right to sleep and not have to worry about what they have to wake up to.

Others, like myself and Sam, like to start the workday by going through our daily checklist. We write down everything we have to do in a day and spend the rest of the day gleefully working to check that list off. On our team, Renee, our outreach coordinator, is the queen of checklists. She has a checklist for everything from meal planning to next year’s Christmas presents. (I’ve taken a few notes from her and have started doing the same).

I find it helpful to have my checklist on an app (I like to use Google Keep, they have a handy checklist feature that makes it easy to create reoccurring lists). That way, I have it with me all the time and can check things off on the go. Others find it helpful to have checklists written with pen and paper.

Get inspired!

Now, equipped with your checklisting skills, I want to share with you one of my favorite articles featuring a checklist master! In this hilarious experiment, life adventurer Beau Miles sets off to tackle a day of getting things done, while running one mile an hour for 24 hours. This is the article to send to the “doer” in your life!


Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber is COO of Ever Widening Circles and Founder of Amazing World Media, the latter of which is a media company intent on changing the negative dialogue about our times.

The post The Secret Power Of Checklists appeared first on Young Upstarts.

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How to Protect Your Business From COVID-19 Scams

In the age of the coronavirus crisis, cyber scams are on the rise. Learn how your small business can safeguard itself against preventable scam threats. The post How to Protect Your Business From COVID-19 Scams appeared first on Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of

How to Protect Your Business From COVID-19 Scams

By Larry Zelvin

Unfortunately, it is during times of great economic, business, and social uncertainty that we see scams and fraud proliferate and prey on our vulnerabilities. In the age of COVID-19, cyber scams have increased in both frequency and duplicity. Global cyber security experts report a 600 to 800% increase in the number of cyber attacks over the past few weeks, and tens of thousands of COVID-19 related fraudulent websites and mobile applications have emerged.

Scammers see a much larger pool of potentially desperate prey, with one group particularly vulnerable: small businesses.

Small businesses face challenges like never before, as forces beyond their control upend the economy and their ability to serve existing customers and grow their companies. These owners are making critical decisions every day: Should we reopen when the state or city lifts restrictions? How will we keep our employees, our customers, and ourselves safe when we do open? How do we apply for financial hardship programs and relief from the CARES Act?

Amid all of these challenges and weighty decisions is where scammers strike, wreaking havoc when anxiety is already at an all-time high. It is more crucial than ever that small business owners and entrepreneurs remain vigilant and safeguard themselves against preventable scam threats.

Here is what you need to know.

Scrutinize the source of the communication

Remember the age-old axiom: “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” This is especially true when it concerns offers of “free government grants” and emails promising “fast and guaranteed approval for your loan today.”

Scammers are posing as financial services companies, legal firms, credit bureaus, and more. Some even pretend to be government agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA). Business leaders need to routinely validate the source of any email or communication before doing anything else.

As a point of reference, many organizations, including the SBA, are transparent on the guidelines dictating how they communicate with small businesses. For example, the SBA will not contact small businesses directly to apply for the Payment Protection Program under the CARES Act, nor will the SBA text or communicate with businesses via social media. If you receive communication from someone claiming to be with the SBA who does not have an email ending in, or from someone promising an SBA loan approval contingent on the payment of a high, upfront fee, contact the SBA Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-767-0385.

Be selective when sharing personal and business information

Did you know that scammers can make headway with only a few pieces of personal or business data? They can fraudulently apply for grants or loans on behalf of your company, contact your customers or employees pretending to be a company official seeking additional information for business reasons, or exploit the new work-from-home environment to request that you invoice to a new bank account—potentially overseas.

Do your research and make sure you not only communicate how you will contact your customers and employees, but also develop a quick action plan for if these attacks occur at your company.

Related Articles:

  • Financial Help for Freelancers and Independent Contractors Affected by the Coronavirus Crisis
  • Where’s the Money? The Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About CARES Act Loans
  • Small Business Relief: COVID-19 Resources for Startups
  • Newly Available CARES Act Loans: 10 Things Small Businesses Need to Know

Webinar registration shouldn’t require extensive personal or business data

There are a variety of informative webinars for small businesses that offer advice on how to weather the pandemic. But a webinar registration shouldn’t require extensive identifying information beyond your name, company and email. Registrations asking for more could be a sign of someone trying to obtain information to commit fraud.

Also, be skeptical of webinars that promise small businesses assistance obtaining loans that are contingent on a significant financial payment. Even if the offer sounds helpful, asking for significant fees is a sign of a scam.

Unexpected credit score changes are a red flag

Just like you would for your personal credit, make a habit of monitoring your business credit. Unexpected changes in your business credit score could mean that someone took out a loan pretending to be you or your company. If you believe this is the case, contact any one of the three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) right away.

Quick action will prevent further damage to your credit and lead to a much quicker resolution than if you wait until someone contacts you with bad news.

Staying organized and up to date keeps your business safe

Now more than ever, financial and administrative housekeeping is critical. Keep all emails and documents related to your grant and loan applications well-organized and in a secure, locked (virtual or physical) location. This degree of preparation will facilitate locating and tracking application information, as well as expedite identifying and reporting fraud should it occur.

In addition to keeping your communications organized, it is important to ensure devices and application software programs are up-to-date. Software releases and product updates will often include security fixes that can ultimately help protect you against questionable online activity.

However, be mindful of how those updates and requests are delivered to you. If the request for a software update comes from a suspect email address or through a “pop-up” message that directs you to an unknown or unfamiliar website, then it may be fraudulent.

Fast action could mean faster recovery of lost funds

Even the most skeptical individuals and business owners can make mistakes that open them up to a scam. Beyond flagging changes in your credit score to the credit bureaus, it is important that you immediately reach out to your financial institution if you suspect that you or your business are victims of a cyber scam. In most cases, the faster the issue is detected, the higher the probability is that lost funds can be recovered. Your bank can also provide guidance on which authorities to report the scam to if necessary.

Stay vigilant against scams

As you navigate your business through these extraordinarily challenging times, you are embodying the spirit and grit of American entrepreneurship and small business ownership. Even with all that you’re facing, ensure you remain hyper-vigilant and attentive to the tricks of unscrupulous operators.

Wishing you the best in business and health!


About the Author

Post by: Larry Zelvin

Larry Zelvin is the Head of the Financial Crimes Unit at BMO Financial Group. He was previously the Global Head of Cybersecurity at Citigroup, led the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is a retired U.S. Navy Captain who served at both the White House and the Pentagon.

Company: BMO Financial Group
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The post How to Protect Your Business From COVID-19 Scams appeared first on Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of

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