October 12, 2016
Define the power of the check list. Everyone loves to check off a job as done. Naturally, getting a job done is satisfying. Use the power well and everyone wines. For example, c-stores use checklists. They have duty lists in the stores. Likewise IT backup lists in the IT departments. Just about anything that must get done can be put on a list. People have to do lists on their desks and there are probably many more we haven’t seen. These are usually tasks that need to get done and what their managers are being judged by to determine departmental or store performance. So what is it about these small pieces of paper or small desktop files that make them so powerful?
Check List Power
Work is demanding. There is always more to do. Lists are larger and more complex as we strive to improve. For example, tasks can come by emails, notes at meetings, phone calls, texts and more. Track them. When putting all of the tasks down on a list use a simple title. Second, order them by importance. It becomes an easy to use guide. A great list simplifies work and reduces stress. Of course, it takes a little time. It is worth it. Remember the three C’s for check list:
When looking at the list on a daily basis, you are much less likely to forget a task or overlook a subtask in a complex project because it is there staring right at you every time you look at it. It is very easy to see that all things get completed and if not, what is left to be done. Managers providing heavy workloads know it is important to provide a magnitude of importance definition to the task so the employee knows what order to tackle things or where to put it on the list. That way their most critical tasks are completed first where if there is fall out at the end of the week it won’t be so critical to move it to the next time period or list.
By completing the list one gains the feeling of accomplishment and therefore their confidence increases. The confidence their employer has in them increases as well They will know when they may add more tasks to be done by a particular employee because their list is completed by Thursday. They can see where they may need to coach should lists be falling short each week.
Because of the natural order of things, people are built to want to succeed. When given a list they are more likely to complete it because after all, it is their list and they are clearly defined as being accountable to the completion of their list. Now this is not to say that things will not pop up where sometimes the order of importance will change or that things will be added to everyone’s list throughout the week, but by adding it to that one piece of paper with a place to put a checkmark gives it a lot better chance of getting done.
Perhaps no one knows why a checkmark that gives one so much satisfaction. Nonetheless, no one ever complains about them. Perhaps, it is the design of it. Just a little down and a lot of upstroke. Maybe subliminally, it suggest the positive with the upward line. Of course, declaring a completed tasks proves accomplishment. It means one less thing to do. Regardless of the reason, how you define the power of the check list, use them. Make a list and starting checking them off.