November 01, 2009

November 2009 - Inspiration for Leaders

Power of a Checklist

Hi. My name is Ansley, and I’m a list-maker. Whether it’s the running list of groceries on the fridge, a list of things to remember to do before I leave the house with the kids in the morning, or a list of things that I need to start thinking about…I make lists. And I really enjoy checking things off as I go along.

So, I did a little research into the checklist-making habit I have. Here is what I’d like to share with you.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“A checklist is used as an aid to memory. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task. A basic example is the "to do list." A more advanced checklist would be a schedule, which lays out tasks to be done according to time of day or other factors.” 

Checklists can improve results. Checklists are powerful tools for jogging your memory, reducing stress, and sharing know how.

People use checklists effectively to:

  • Reduce task saturation. Task saturation is simply too much to do and not enough time. Checklists help you reduce that overwhelming feeling – probably not all of it, but some of it. 
  • Lower stress. Checklists minimize forgetting something. This relieves the stress of worrying about forgetting (especially when consequences are very bad). 
  • Free the mind. You don’t have to waste your prefrontal cortex on mundane things. Basically, checklists free you up to worry about higher level issues. 
  • Be a refresher course. You can use checklists as a tool to remember a sequence of actions for the next time you do something, like submitting a check request or packing for a trip. 
Do you use checklists? If you currently don’t use them, create a list for the coming week and see if you feel more productive. If you are already a checklist person, please share your effective checklists. I just might write your secrets down, try them out, then make a “to-do” to remind myself to thank you for suggesting the secret!

This month’s sources include: Wikipedia and Do you feel inspired? Do you have suggestions for future topics? If you have questions or comments, or just want to comment on what you’ve read, please send a note to the Nominating Committee.

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