Benefits of a Using a Checklist

Benefits of a Using a Checklist
Muhammed Hussain Sufi
Do you remember  the good old days when we used to write  a diary at our school? Those of you who didn’t have that privilege, don’t be disheartened; most of us belong to that category. I wanted to insert and emoji over here, the one, which is laughing with tears coming out of its eyes. The edit pages are supposed to contain a serious matter;  therefore I cannot enjoy that liberty. This was purely for sarcastic purposes and I didn’t mean to offend anyone. Let me clarify what this diary writing was all about. It was a process wherein our class teachers for each subject will give us topics for homework, we had to make a mention of homework on our school diaries, and we have to write down it in the diary with the  subject and date mentioned at the top. It helped us to recall our homework. Our parents used to check our diaries to stay updated about school curriculum, teachers who wanted to send a message to parents about wrong doing of their kids, they would write that on the diary in red ink. We knew it was alarming but we couldn’t comprehend that language and we used to handover it to our parents in innocence. It usually was followed by some thrashing and scolding at the hands of the mother or father, whosoever happened to read it first.
A Checklist is a list of items required, things to be done, or points to be considered and  used as a reminder. It is a habit, similar to diary writing. If this habit is mastered you will hold the reins of your life and take it any direction you want it to.  The question is: Who all are eligible to take this task? The answer is everyone viz. students, professionals, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, bankers, financial advisors, insurers, homemakers, engineers and any other profession that comes to your mind. Equipment’s required; pen and a pocket diary.
A checklist is nothing but a list of the things you wish to perform on any particular day. It is a type of job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memoryand attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task. A basic example is the “to do list”. A more advanced checklist would be a schedule, which lays out tasks to be done according to time of day or other factors. A primary task in crafting a  checklist is documentation of the task and auditing against the documentation.
To begin with purchase a fresh pocket diary and a pen. Once that is done, open the first page, mention a date at the top and make a small square box and write any task you wish to perform on that day against the square box. Make another square box and write down another task, likewise jot down tasks one after other. Once you perform the task, you shall check the square box designated before it. You shall do this exercise everyday preferable at night when you are about to doze off. The topic will sink into your subconscious and you do not need to open diary again and again. At the end of the day , in the evening,  you shall have a look at the diary and tick all the tasks completed and those, which are not completed, you can move them to the next day. Diary looks good with all the topics marked with tick.
I personally prefer a bigger diary because I carry a laptop bag with me all the time and it fits into the bag; it is a planner with the dates mentioned already. If in case I cannot perform any task or I have to postpone it by several days, I can make a mention of it under that date in advance. Your life stays on track and you stay ahead and you know where you are heading.
There are several mobile apps available to do this check-list thing for you. Cellphone have a nasty habit to distract us. A simple notification will divert your attention to completely new domain, which doesn’t deserve your attention. We have mobile phones loaded with applications, all of which usually need your attention, therefore they ask for permission for allowing it to send notifications, internet connection, read your messages, your contact list and location thereby making it almost impossible to stick to your task. I prefer the  traditional method of paper and pen. However if you find phone app better make use of it. It actually has an advantage and will keep you reminding about the task you have to perform. Checklist is a habit and once acquired many things will be solved automatically. You can sit down on weekends and have a look at entire week’s finished and unfinished tasks. You can move unfinished to next week. Checklist is good method to develop new habit, a fabulous method to learn new skill, a perfect way to stay consistent with universally aspired habits such as prayers, and morning wake ups, reading, walking, writing, so on and so forth.

—The author is a lawyer at High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and can be reached at sufi@xeal.in. His  Twitter  handle is: @sufi071