Why Checklists Should Be Used for Repeatable Success

When you last took a flight did you manage, as most of us try to do as we’re boarding, to sneak a peek into the pilot’s cockpit?

Chances are that if you do manage a look into the cockpit, even though the Pilot and his Co-Pilots are fully qualified and don’t need any tuition on how to fly a plane, you’ll see them running through a series of checklists, ticking off items as they check the plane they are about to fly.

Using checklists is not a sign a sign of incompetence, nor it is a sign of weakness – exactly the opposite. Using checklist within your business and personal life is a powerful way to ensure you are consistently successful at whatever you do.


Checklists for Repeatable Success

When should you use checklists? I’d suggest you should use checklists for any task or series of actions that is repeatable.

Attending a business networking event? Use a checklist before the event to ensure you take enough business cards. Use a checklist after the event to ensure you follow-up with new contacts promptly, connect with them on Social Media, and put the date of the next networking event into your diary.

Travelling abroad for work or pleasure? Use a checklist to ensure you’ve packed the right clothes, have the correct currency for the country you’re travelling to and have let your clients/colleagues/neighbours know you’re away. I can’t tell you the peace of mind that having a checklist for international travel gives this scatterbrain as he panics about whether he really did pick up his Passport when 3/4 the way to Heathrow Airport!

Checklists for life

I use checklists heavily within both my business and personal life. I’ve recorded enough episodes of my podcast for IT Consultants to know what I’m doing, yet I find having a checklist of the steps I need to take before, during and after recording my podcast ensure I’m consistently successful with it.

I even have a checklist for when I’m leaving my house to travel overnight. Does the cat have enough biscuits to see her through to my return? Check. Have I turned the central heating down so I don’t waste energy heating an empty home? Check.

Checklists for you

What repeatable processes or actions in your life would benefit from you putting a checklist together for them? What checklists would give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve not forgotten any steps in a task?

Have a think, and the next time you perform that process or task simply slow down, think about which steps you want to include, and write them down. The next time you need to do the same thing, refer to your checklist.

And if you’re in any doubt as to the power of checklists, let me ask you this. Which plane would you rather be a passenger on — the one where the qualified Pilot’s use a checklist, or the one where they don’t.

Do YOU rely on a go-to checklist which you couldn’t live without? Let me know in the comments below!

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