10 amazing ways checklists can make you more confident
Standing at the front of a room full of people, the screen went blank as the laptop died mid-presentation. With a strange metallic taste in my mouth and my cheeks slowly turning pink, I realised I'd forgotten to bring the power cord.
Embarrassing? Oh yes!
Confident women are organized. They ooze control, manage to get lots done in a short amount of time, and never forget their power cords.They adopt tools that can help them. Checklists are one of those simple yet helpful tools. I would go so far as to call it a Power Tool.
Think of a checklist as a supercharged to-do list. It’s like Popeye on spinach, boosted by due dates, deadlines, and sequences.
So wave goodbye to having to remember everything in your head.
10 Amazing Ways Checklists Can Make You More Confidence
1. An Aide Memoir
Sometimes, even the simplest things can be easily missed - ahem, anyone mention power cords?
2. Creates A Logical Sequence
Logical sequences give the right order to do things. They create a flow. If like me, you have worked in open plan offices, you'll understand just how distracting they can be. There is always someone begging for attention or general loud noises. In one office they even had music - great if it was in the background, but really distracting if it has a heavy beat or lyrics. I'm not even going to mention the choice of music. I think I managed to keep the screaming in my head, but I'm not sure!
Trying to get back into something that you're doing after being distracted is so hard. With a checklist, you can pick up where you left off and get back into the swing of things.
3. Records Each Step
A checklist prevents you from skipping steps and potentially doing something wrong. How often have you spent a lot of time doing something, only to discover you have missed an important element out? It's like baking a cake and forgetting to put the flour in. *sigh* it happens to the best of us.
4. Flexible And Easy To Review
The beauty of a checklist is that it can be modified, changed or updated to improve the process. Keep it up to date as circumstances change. You will enjoy that wonderful feeling of being in control.
5. Kills Procrastination Stone Dead Like A Dodo
These days we are juggling so many plates that it's easy to feel overwhelmed. When there is so much to do, and if you are anything like me, there is a tendency to procrastinate as you try to figure out what to do next. But, procrastinating has a nasty habit of coming back to bite you in the bum. With a checklist you can break big tasks into manageable steps. Then things don't seem so daunting.
6. Prevents Mistakes
Why do we fear mistakes? It's not just the embarrassment, but a fear of failure. Of having people judge us as not capable. A checklist means that you don't worry about what you are doing. It's a tried and tested methodology. With the power cord incident, I felt embarrassed. I was also concerned that the people in the room would think me disorganised or worse, 'flaky'. Not the impression I was going for.
7. Increases Efficiency
This links in strongly to the point above. Not only can you move through the process quickly, it means you get things right first time. No need to go back and correct yourself.
8. Time Saver
An automatic process saves time. You don't have to think about what you're doing. This is really helpful when working through tedious tasks. Get the boring, tedious things done as quickly as possible so you can move on to the more enjoyable things.
9. Better Results And More Consistency
Imagine the horror of someone being off sick and no-one else knows how to do a task. With a checklist anyone can step in. No mounting workload for the person unwell, and no bottleneck for others who rely on that person doing their part of the workflow. I used this successfully when I set up an operational agreement when I managed an HR Service Centre. We had a comprehensive 'book' of all tasks. As a small team, having a person off would make a real impact. Having the checklists saved us numerous times.
10. Reduces Stress
Life is stressful enough, especially when there is a lot going on in the workplace. As David Allen said in Getting Things Done
Checklists 'enhance personal productivity and relieves mental pressure'.
A definite win.
Checklists can be set up in advance and referred back to often. As David Allen wrote in his book 'Getting Things Done' we can't remember everything in our heads. Checklists mean that you can entrust jobs to your 'external mind'.
There you have it. Create a checklist and you are now back in control. Your checklist has made you confident.
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Do Checklists Matter?
Humble they may be, but you can create a checklist for just about anything.
In addition to my role in the Service Centre, I've worked in several start-up operations where speed is of the essence in getting things done. Checklists were a life-saver.
For some industries checklists are literally a matter of life and death.
In his book, The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande shares how the introduction of a simple 5-step checklist for surgeons saved people's lives. Despite being trained in surgical hygiene when they started their medical career, it was discovered that many surgeons did not follow the process. As a result hygiene levels decreased and patient fatalities rose. It is incredible to think that a surgeon would not pay attention to the 5-steps. But this demonstrated how the process had broken down until reminders were set up and a checklist was introduced.
Checklists are a great tool. Simple to construct, flexible in approach and easily implemented. They build competence and make you more confident.
- get more done
- in less time and
- never forget your power cord.
So, wave goodbye to having to remember everything in your head. Your checklist is the key to your confidence.