Checklists: A Shortcut to Clearer Thinking

I join the secret society of checklist writers February 28, 2019 productivity

I stumbled upon Robb Seaton’s blog and I really enjoy it. From his site and others, I’ve read a lot about checklists while on vacation in 云南 (Yunnan) with my girlfriend. I know, I should be reading less and looking at the scenery more, but I can’t help it. Reading is supposed to be good for you, anyway.

I figured I’d make a checklist of things I should do before bed. I need some more habits in my life. I don’t seem to develop (good) habits well.

What to do before sleeping

  • brush teeth (this deserves its own checklist, simple as it is)
  • floss
  • pee
  • lay out clothes I’ll wear tomorrow
  • prepare any other equipment/materials necessary for the next day
  • make bed (I’m lazy, don’t do it in the morning)
  • shower or at least wash face (to appease Chinese girlfriend)
  • turn on bedside lamp, turn off overhead light
  • get in bed
  • write journal entry on computer (I’m faster typing than writing)
  • finish flashcards if they haven’t been done yet

I’m considering using company paper to print off a bunch of these lists and actually check them off a few nights, and afterwards putting them somewhere visible as a reminder.

Speaking of work, I’m a teacher, and I should make some more checklists for teaching a class, too. It should make me a better teacher, or at least a better employee in my boss’s eyes.

Other things to make a list for:

  • transcribing/arranging songs
  • writing songs
  • preparing a class
  • practicing guitar
  • brushing teeth (already mentioned)
  • writing an article (see the end of the linked article)
  • packing for travel
  • communicating relationship problems to the girlfriend
  • solving a problem with code
  • taking pictures

With no data whatsoever, I estimate that these make up 80% or more of my daily life. Codifying them with checklists requires me to identify best practices and reflect on my habits.

Randy Josleyn teacher-linguist-guitarist wannabe