I began doing and using extensive checklists around 2004, after I read David’s Allen famous book. No question that the book was a big influence into the creation of those, and to this day, I consider those checklists a great friend and an ally. But I am aware that many people consider them more of a foe than a friend, and it is more for those people that these lines are written.
It is really interesting that we spend hours taking measures to control our environment, projects and tasks; only then to find endless ways to disrupt them. It is exactly the second part on that last sentence the reason I work with Checklists. I spend hours, creating system, tracking projects and tasks, maintaining a complete system, but my ability to disrupt them is incredible.
Checklists allow me to keep at bay the distractions, elements and sometimes feelings and stress while I am then able to focus on the task on hand. I have for example a checklist in case I get in a car accident. Trust me that I hope never again use that one, but it was really useful, when it happened, no emotions, just following steps.
I have another checklist for when we are living home in a trip. I don’t know how your household works, but in ours the last ten minutes before leaving are a little crazy. They were also as I grow up. I remember my parents turning the car around because they didn’t remember if they turn off this or that. I have a before we leave checklist, after I push everyone to the car I pull my lists and go trough it quickly, no feelings, no stress, no worry, no problem.
I understand that many people cringe on the idea of the control that those lists can produce, it is that same people that believe that it is this kind of control what will kill their spontaneity and creativity, but in my experience it is exactly the opposite, it is this kind of lists what allow me to keep my calm and free mental space in order to be creative and spontaneous.
Without a doubt for me, Checklists are a friend… and I have a lot of those friends!
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