Human nature being what it is, we forget things. We make mistakes. In the world of medicine, construction and transportation, mistakes can prove fatal. It’s no surprise that many of these industries utilize checklists. In his book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Do Things Right, best-selling author Atul Gawande advocates the use of checklists to manage the vast amounts of information we use in both our professional and personal lives. If you question the impact of checklists, consider that a five-step checklist used in Johns Hopkins intensive care units saved nearly 1,500 lives and $200 million over an 18-month period.
As a professional organizer it’s probably not surprising that I love checklists. They are the simplest of organizing systems, yet they can make a huge impact. A checklist should be easy to review and implement, providing immediate access to the knowledge we need. With all that we juggle in our daily lives, when we don’t have to rely on our memory, life is easier.
The Internet provides checklists for a multitude of situations and tasks. Start with one of these or make one of your own. Continue to refine your checklist over time, but experts advise to keep the checklist short. Organizing Coach offers eight checklists to help you get started.
- Moving Checklist: Takes you from getting your home ready for sale to setting up your new home.
- Packing Checklist: You’ll never be in need on the road with the help of this checklist.
- Travel Checklist: What to do before you leave town.
- Vital Information Checklist: If you had a medical emergency your loved ones could access this document and find everything they need to know.
- Office Checklist: A quick reference for organizing your office.
- College Checklist: Bring these items to your dorm or apartment.
- Senior Checklist: Essentials for seniors moving into a smaller space.
- Closet Checklist: Use this checklist to assess your current closet and find ideas to improve it.
Checklists are powerful tools that you can use to organize any area of your professional and personal life life. Store them where you’ll have easy access – on your computer, file, phone or fridge.
Make life easier. Check.