Checklists: The power of checklists is immeasurable in repeated activities. Human beings naturally tend towards boredom when involved in repeated tasks. This can at times become too expensive. In these places checklists come to our rescue. Examples of places where a checklist is helpful are: pilots checking the plane before take-off; a surgeon checking the instruments before surgery; trek leader ensuring all instruments and gadgets are in place before the trek; etc. But there are also places where checklists can be very useful but are not often used, namely: checking if everything is planned before start of an event; checking if everything is in place before a business / personal travel; checking if everything is ready for a workshop; etc.,. The basic benefit of using a checklist is that there is less chances of missing something. While lack of a checklist can be dangerous (as in the case of surgeons and pilots) in some cases, in most cases it also helps in enhancing efficiency. Having a checklist most of all can reduce unnecessary stress on the human mind, which can then be put to much better use.
To-Do Lists: These are widely spoken about, but rarely used to its full potential. A simple to-do list is a list of items that you want to get done. When these are listed according to dates they help us track our commitments and when they are kept according to priority, they ensure we are working on our important things than just urgent tasks. Though one needs to understand the ‘how’ of using ‘to-do’ lists better, the bigger problem is actually with a softer issues – namely discipline. I haven’t come across too many people who are consistent users of this simple tool. The disciplined and consistent use of this tool ensures you never miss out on commitments. The mind forgets especially when it is flooded with numerous requests and proactive actions. The easiest way to ensure things get done is to put it down on a ‘to-do’ list and tick-it-off when done.
The beauty behind the above two types of lists are that they ensure that we are free to do what we are designed to do – namely ‘think’. Considering that most of us are also engaged with numerous people during the course of our work, the number of actions and communications are just rising every day. How to keep a tab on all of these? Lists! If they are repeated activities the best option is to create a ‘checklist of activities or items’ and ensure it is used every time a chance arises. If it is an action (call, email, meeting, write, etc) then put it into your ‘to-do’ list and have the discipline to look at it often to ensure it gets done.
Lists are powerful ways to get things done efficiently and effectively! The above two lists are widely used by productive and effective people across the world.
Think about it if you are not using one or are not consistent at using one!