Checklists. One of my number one tools. They're so useful and I use them pretty much everywhere and for everything.
The main reason, for me, behind the power of the simple checklist is that when you write it down, it makes a commitment from you to do that thing.
Using checklists can take your from uncertainty to clarity. It might sound like hyperbole but they can even save lives! That's right. I read about a surgeon who uses checklists to make sure that the operations, especially complex ones, have a better success rate.
When I put a checklist together, I'm thinking about what it is I need to get done. Kind of like a recipe - you have the things you need, and you have the process of cooking. This is the checklist in essence.
You can apply this to many areas of your life. It could be a checklist for a party, a packing list, a shopping list, anything! My son uses them to make sure that he has everything he needs for the activities he does. So he has a checklist for football, a checklist for BMX-ing. It's his responsibility to be ready and he knows what he needs to do to be ready. So that's one less job for me to think about.
You can see that checklisting like this means you can delegate work to others.
So how does it work? How do I make a checklist? It depends what it's for, but one method might be that I do a 'brain dump' of what do I need to get done. Then I split them nitro categories - A, B and C. 'A' is for those things that I 'absolutely' need to get done today. No excuses. 'B' is for things that it's 'better' if I do them today and 'C' are for those things which it would be nice if I 'could' do them today. Hope that makes sense?
Another way is if I want to describe a process for someone - say one of the kids. When I do that, they have a list of what I expect them to do in order for the job to be done satisfactorily. They can then follow that.
To summarize the 5 ways that checklists transform your life.
1. It helps you to delegate, thereby freeing you up to focus on the important things.
2. It enables and empowers other people to support you.
3. Once you've done it once - that's it. Subject to your tweaking it if necessary.
4. It keeps things simple. Make the checklist as easy as possible to follow.
5. If you have task on a checklist that can be broken down, then break it down.
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- Don't overlook the power of the simple checklist.
- Use checklists to break down tasks into simpler steps.
- Create checklists for those areas of life that occur regularly.
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