Software or Checklist or Both?
Nobody doubts the need for software today in the technoculture we live in where information needs to move quicker than the eye can see. The business world couldn’t function or keep up with performance or productivity needs without computers and associated artificial intelligence software to help gain an edge on the competitor. However, one this that trumps all software functions and critical steps to be taken to ensure the work is done on time and completely is the human brain – still.
There are two simple reasons why many businesses find it so hard to track or finish what they started – procrastination and distractions. Regardless of how much you depend in computers, you still need to make mental decisions which computer to use, when, why or what to input and how to schedule it so it gets done. All those technological devices available can help you attain proficiency but the brain has to make the first and final decision.
The truth is, without your brain, you wouldn’t get much done. Certainly, any sales rep will tell you that apps are helpful but even if you found the right programs or products to help you with your business, you still need your own intelligence or savvy to achieve the final product. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge believer in the value of investing in software, training and more. But when it comes to productivity, I find that programs and products add complexity, and complexity works against what you're trying to achieve.
To get things done, simplicity is still the best approach. Working on the problem and finding the solution can be done in a reasonable time and effort if you can avoid your main reasons for not getting things done on time – distractions. Without going into the number or types of distraction you may experience, creating distractions happens quicker than the mind can resolve and resist. In fact, the amount of time wasted often escapes the reality that has always existed but hardly ever directly addressed or sometimes noticed.
Generally speaking, life has thousands of distractions on top of your business end. Social media alone consumes more time than you would like to admit and adding things like house chores, shopping, gym etc. your day is filled with scheduled events that encroach into your time and space. Truth be told, there are industries designed to create distractions and evolve faster than your brain could ever process or keep up with.
Even the smartest, the most intuitive and the best persons with excellent memory capabilities cannot keep up with distractions. These dynamics result in more time and efforts wasted than realized at any time of the process. Thus between distractions, procrastination, multi-tasking and other obstacles, you need some help getting your work done complete and on time. There is one solution that covers all these bases. The solution is a checklist. Getting back to basics has its advantages and should be done in order to get things done.
World-wide military and non-government agencies alike use checklists. Pilots, mechanics, astronauts use them. Military command posts, space exploration projects, manufacturers and sports outlets use checklists to complete their work assignments. When designed well to capture all your priorities and essential functions, they have been proven to be a good to know and do item for focusing the attention on the goal or outcome as desired or planned.
Checklists bring the focus sharply on the desired actions to be taken and when to do them. You don’t spend your time ‘spinning your wheels’ in a cause and effect that resembles a “whack-a-mole” concept. Start with a master checklist that contains a numerical list of between 10 and 30 items. These have to be achievable in a single day, every day breaking up timelines into daily, weekly, monthly etc. depending on the required needs.
The good thing about checklists is you can combine them with devices and apps that may facilitate tracking or setting alarms for things that need to be done. However, each function is based on the completion algorithm of the checklist and not a random or even pre-programmed database that does not involve the human mind as a safety precaution. Maintain a current copy at all times and created a backup of it in case you accidentally delete items.
Allow yourself to execute on checklist items in any order. Delay any items that can or should be handled later. These two tricks give you the flexibility to plow forward and make progress. The purpose of this approach is to develop daily habits that contribute to your bigger goals, but without the show-stopping barrier that goes up when goals are ambitious. The good thing about a checklist is the lack of a restriction or upper limit of your capabilities and expansion of your priorities. One can always add more to the list and keep the order in the sequence desired.
By now you must be wondering how checklists, some that can be so simple, get things done and end distractions. Certainly this all this sounds too easy, too good to be true, I'll tell you exactly why my checklist system works. Remember this – checklists keep you focused on the task to be done; it eliminates wasted time or space; it creates positive habits to rely on; it provides a tool of achievement that shows you are finishing what you started. Use a checklist system and get it done.