The Power of Good Old Checklists


I left my house for work this morning, knowing that I’m going to go from the office into a whole other world: PodCamp. So, I had to have everything read, because I wasn’t coming home. I said to myself, fleetingly, I should write a checklist. I didn’t.

So far, here’s what I forgot:

  • Videocamera recharger – cost for batteries $20 minimum.
  • USB for iPod (recharger)- cost for recharger at Apple store $30.

I’m already down $50 and I haven’t bought anyone a beer yet.

Checklists Have Value

So, I’ve been writing about this theory called Small Boxes on one of my blogs, and what I think is this: the very physical form of using something like a paper 3 x 5 index card as an organizing/executing building block. Were I to have built simple checklists on paper, I’d have caught my error. Checklists are a way to ensure completion, and this would’ve been of great value to me.

Checklists Are Searchable

If you save the cards, you can sort back through various checklists. Not as useful as 37 Signals’ Backpack or something, but very useful to your headspace.

I’m no luddite, but I’m starting to lean towards paper for certain headspace activities. Brainstorming was first, and now checklists.

What’s your take? Are you going digital? Do you really use your FranklinCovey all the time? What’s your organizing/execution tool of choice?

–Chris Brogan wishes he had listened to this advice before running PodCamp this weekend. If you’re coming to VON next week in Boston, get in touch. Chris would love to hang out with Lifehack readers and practitioners.

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