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Do you have a checklist?

Have you ever packed up the car to leave on a trip and drove away thinking you had forgotten something? Only to remember it a mile or two down the road and have to turn back?

Forgot to set the house alarm, close the garage door, lock the front door? And leave some lights on…

Sometimes we do things so automatically, that we don’t even remember that we did them.  We then create doubt in our minds and automatically think the worst case, don’t we?

So we drive back only to find that the front door is locked, the garage door is closed, the alarm system is set, the lights are on .  . .

(I must say that there have been times when my husband and I did forget to do things and it was good that we went back!)

But, guess what? We now have a checklist before we travel!

“The checklist is one of the most high productivity tools ever discovered.” – Brian Tracy

My husband was a military pilot and when he was flying he always followed a checklist.  

Why?  So he wouldn’t miss anything he was supposed to do or the sequence in which to do it.  Whether it was starting the engines or handling an in-flight emergency, he was taught to always follow the checklist, and not to rely on memory.

“I watch a lot of astronaut movies . . . mostly Star Wars.  Even Han and Chewie use a checklist.” – Jon Stewart, Comedian

On another note, I can’t tell you how many people I talk to that don’t have their personal records in order, only to find out when their loved one is dying that they need to have a will, power of attorney, funeral preparations, passwords for all money accounts, etc.

It’s just something that most people put off and really shouldn’t.

That was me, until10 years ago, after we moved back from Italy.  I felt like things were just not in order and I didn’t want my kids to have to deal with things, especially if both of us passed at the same time.

So I created a special checklist, that I call the Personal Records Organizer where I listed all of our personal records and where they could be found. It’s a checklist of what to do and where to find it, and can be updated as needed. It forced me to get things in order and now it gives me total peace of mind.

The same goes for your business and your daily routine. You want to follow a checklist every day.

Here are few suggestions that I learned from expert, Atul Gawande in his book, The Checklist Manifesto. 

  1. It cannot be lengthy.
  2. Keep it short by focusing on the steps that cannot be missed.
  3. The wording should be simple and exact.

Putting the checklist actions in your calendar at the time they need to be done, will automatically remind you to do them.

You want to do this each and every day.  By doing so you will not miss anything, you will be consistent, you will be responsive, you will be reliable, and you will be accomplished.

And both your business and personal life will flourish.

“No matter how expert you may be, well designed checklists can improve outcomes.” – Steven Levitt, American Economist and Author

So do you have a daily checklist for your business as well as your personal life? If not, it’s time to make them!

p.s. As I mentioned, I’ve created a personal records checklist and I want to share it with you.

So please send me an email with PERSONAL RECORDS CHECKLIST in the subject line to dm@deborahmacdonald.com and I’ll send it to you.