On Monday, I posted about the importance of consistency and how doing the small things well day in and day out can produce big results. Today, I wanted to share the process I use to make sure I’m consistently doing my small things: The Power Of A Checklist.

Before any airplane leaves the runway, the pilot completes a checklist. It’s a foolproof way to make sure that something small doesn’t disrupt something big. I tend to view my day through that same lens because I don’t want a missed detail to crash my entire day into a mountain. Consider the advantages of a checklist:

We Miss Nothing

Having a good set of instructions makes the construction of anything possible. By highlighting the small details into a list, we ensure that nothing gets missed. If it’s on the list, we’ll see it.

We Know What We Must Do

If we look at our checklist the same way a pilot does, that he can’t get up in the air until his checklist is complete, we know exactly what we must accomplish for each list. I have a Morning Routine Checklist and I know I can’t get out the door until I’ve done it all. It gives clarity to exactly what must get done because everything is on the list. I have another for when I leave the office and I know that I can’t head for home until it’s done.

We Free Up Head Space

Read much of my blog, and you will find that I am a big believer in keeping our minds as clear as possible of clutter. If it’s not essential that we remember it, we’re better off not holding onto it. This is the real beauty of a checklist; it takes all of our small tasks out of our heads and puts them on paper so that we don’t have to remember. This alone makes the discipline worthwhile.

How To Keep Checklists

There is no one right way to keep your lists. It’s perfectly acceptable to use a legal pad and scrawl it out every day. Some people use a journal and do the same thing. The application that I love best, however, is Google Keep. I love it because I don’t have to rewrite my checklist every day. This means I can do things in the same repeatable order ensuring, even more, consistency. I also love that I can color code and tag my lists which help me keep them straight. I know of people that use Evernote and it works well too, but it seems like overkill to me because Keep is such a slim streamlined app designed for use exactly like the one that I’ve described.

No matter how you keep your lists, if you’re looing to find more consistency, I highly recommend giving checklists a try. Missing nothing, knowing what to do and freeing up mental space will go a long way toward making us more consistent and productive and that’s an unbeatable combination for achieving greatness.


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