The Power of the Checklist

Think about your days at work. What would you describe as the “best feeling in the world”? What is it that gives you that giddy feeling of joy and calmness all in one?

Maybe for you it is the feeling of relief,  knowing one more thing is off of your plate. There is one less thing to worry about, to stress over, to contemplate. Maybe instead of relief, that best feeling in the world is accomplishment, it’s completing the job, or the task, or the assignment, or even the challenge. Maybe the best feeling in the world to you is consistency, knowing everything is under control, everything’s all done the same, every time, you never have to worry about it.

Maybe you’re sitting here thinking, like many of us, the best feeling in the world, isn’t just one. It’s when all of those things: relief, accomplishment, and consistency all happen at once.

Checklists. The incredibly simple, incredibly powerful tool that can do just that.

Relief that it will get done. Studies have shown that retention rates are 10% better if we write something down. By writing it down, you’re significantly increasing the chance of it happening. Feel relief that as long as it’s there, on your checklist, it will get done. Have trust in yourself again; write it down.

But checklists also offer a second opportunity for relief. Utilizing checklists from other experts allows you to focus on what you know best and feel relief from battling the unknown. What’s your expertise? You should be spending most of your time doing just that. Don’t reinvent the wheel. By locating and utilizing checklists related to your area of work, you’re giving yourself relief of the constant fear that you aren’t doing the steps correctly - that you’re missing something. Stop wasting time worrying. Start spending your time doing what you do best.

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Accomplishment that feeds your brain. There are neuroscience studies that have concluded that when we cross out tasks as completed, our brain actually releases dopamine. Have you ever caught yourself in your office doing a little celebration dance when you get a job done? There’s something magical about being on a roll, that feeling helps you to keep going and get what feels like a million more things done. That’s your dopamine working. Crossing tasks off of our list provides a sense of accomplishment that feeds the pleasure senses and neurotransmitters in your brain, making you feel happy. Although, this may not be news to you. We all already know the happy feeling of a really great, productive day at work. Did you know having a checklist could help you feel that way more often?

Consistently good results. Many businesses develop checklists for essential processes like onboarding new hires, processing payroll, or checking compliance to prevent errors. In this case, checklists make sure that things get done the way they should, every single time. A good checklist provides your team with guidance, ensuring the same results, no matter who is using it, or what the morning looked like. 

It’s time to take the pressure off of you. Stop worrying about when things will get done, who will do them, and whether or not they will be done correctly. Feel relief knowing it’s all taken care of. Feel accomplishment in being on the right path and crossing it off your list. And feel the power of consistency,  knowing it will always be done correctly.

It’s time for you to spend more of your time being creative, productive, and efficient. You’re the expert in your field. Do what you do best.


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