A blog about checklists? Sounds pretty boring, we know, but hear us out.
Chaos swamps us all from time to time, and if it’s not work, it’s probably family. Checklists are the simplest, most powerful tools for dealing with the chaos of everyday life, no matter where we are.
You might be thinking, “Everybody knows what checklists are, what’s changed?”, and the answer is, not much. All of us have used them before, but it’s worth appreciating how effective they can be, because, as every business owner, parent or busy person knows, we need reminding of important things more than we need be told about new things.
If checklists were a commercial productivity app, how much do you think a big corporation would charge for them? But because they are free, we tend to undervalue the humble tool.
How do they work? There are two types: day-to-day and process.
Day-to-day checklists work first by ordering our thoughts, by listing the tasks we need to focus on, and ensuring we don’t forget something that will make a difference later. We’ve all felt the annoyance of forgetting to do that ‘just one little thing’ that made a big difference later on.
Process checklists work by listing a series of tasks that need attending to, and are more common in a work setting. For example, the safety of the next plane flight you take is measurably increased by the pilot’s use of a checklist. Hospital care in recent decades has been dramatically improved by the increasing use of checklists by doctors and nurses. And even your beloved accountant …;) rarely goes a day without referring to a checklist of one kind or another.
Why are checklists so powerful? Because no matter how smart, multi-skilled and ‘all over it’ we are, our memories aren’t perfect.
So are there checklists apps? Yes, there are heaps. But remember that a fancy productivity app you don’t use is as helpful as a pen-and-paper checklist you don’t write down. Try Trello, it’s our favourite for both work and play.
Whether it’s at your work desk, the construction site, or the kitchen bench, don’t dismiss the power of the checklist. They can be a seriously powerful tool in helping you get to where you need to be.