Beyond the TO-Do List: The Checklist

A To-Do List helps you capture and prioritize tasks, such as what you want to get done next Saturday, or what materials you need to prepare in order to apply to college. If you’re reading this, I bet you are a pro 😉

A checklist, however, is an under-utilized tool, in my opinion. We often reach for a pen and paper to jot down what needs to get done, but have you ever stopped and paused to create your checklist before you begin a project? It can help keep mental clarity and focus.

A checklist can be particularly invaluable for a collection of tasks you have to do more than once in life. Doing your taxes each year, for example, or getting the kids ready for their first day of school each year. Here’s a sample checklist:

Bianca’s Back to School Checklist

  • Clothes shopping
  • School supplies shopping
  • Create school year’s folder for important school papers and put away in kitchen desk
  • Weed last school year’s folder and file away in filing cabinet
  • Clean out back pack
  • Doctor appointment
  • Set up carpool with the Jones’ again
  • Sign her up for next level of Ju Jitsu after-school program
  • Sign up and pre-pay for school lunches

Do you see how this could help prevent overwhelm, by not having to worry about forgetting anything, before it’s too late and becomes stressful? Furthermore, you create a checklist once, and it’s ready for you each time from then onward. It’s a great starting point to support yourself.

I was inspired by reading The Checklist Manifesto by Dr. Atul Gawande many years ago, and I still find myself using this tool/ideology. What’s something that you do every season or every year, that always remains a little overwhelming? Try writing out a checklist you can keep filed away until you need it each time. It can bring you some deserved peace of mind.

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