How Often Do You Use A Checklist?

In 2009, Atul Gawande released the book "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right".

And it was a best seller.

How could something as simple and mundane as a checklist be the subject of a best-selling book?

The checklist is one of the most mundane and unsophisticated things in the world. Just a bunch of words on a piece of paper that we wrote ourselves. In most cases, it's not even worth as much as the paper it's written on. It has practically no intrinsic value.

And yet, depending on what we use it for, it can save us money, make us more productive (perhaps enough to get a promotion or raise), and even save lives. So if we use it wisely, its extrinsic value is tremendous.

And yet, it's often not utilized as much as it could be. Or at least not in the most productive way. For example, we have wish lists, which are practically buy lists for ourselves. And sometimes, even a list of new year's resolutions, though they should be more of a plan rather than just a list.

But in our daily lives, there are lists that can really help us.

Listing our To Do's can let us focus on doing things efficiently, instead of focusing on just remembering what we're supposed to do.

We could also have a list of questions to ask or information to look for before investing. Or a list of questions to answer before buying a luxury item. :)

They can also serve as inspiration and guide post. By listing our life goals and placing it here we can see it everyday, we can focus our time and resources on what is really important to us.

life goals on your shirt?


A checklist for all occasions

And it's quite versatile too. We can have a simple list for things like shopping and grocery needs.

And if our time is limited, we can have a list with priorities to get sure we get the important things done first. We can rank the items by order of importance, or simply put High, Medium, Low next to the items.

For more complicated sets of tasks or a really busy lifestyle, we can have a matrix. A square with four areas: urgent and important items on the upper left, urgent but not important on the upper right, important but not urgent on the lower left, and the rest in the lower right.

Personally, I use checklists a lot. I've always got one or two lists everyday for different things. And I'm not even the forgetful type. But letting a piece of paper do the job of remembering details keeps my mind fresh for the more important stuff and lets me focus on being efficient, rather than just getting them done.

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photo credit: milkfish via photopin cc
photo credit: brownpau via photopin cc

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