The Scientific Explanation on How a Checklist Habit Can Improve Your Life

Share:
12midnight - decades ago you can still consider this as one of the most serene hours of the day. Save from a few fellas having a midnight snack or a toilet break, most people are already deep in their sleep.

Today however, is a different story. Check out your social media, and for sure you’ll still see a bunch of your friends online.

What is it that’s keeping people up? Some might be studying or working. There are also those who are just scrolling through the newsfeed… checking out “what’s up.” It’s funny how spontaneous I get when I am like this –I remember accidentally coming across a terrifying ghost story post past 12mn. I’m absolutely sure I did not like what I saw and read! But there was no way to hold that back –I was already in some sort of an autopilot flow, hopping mindlessly from one distraction to another.

This example is a small scale picture of how the human mind works. No matter how strong it is, when it is unguided, it operates like a stray dog.

How helpful is a checklist, really?


Glenn Carsens-Peters via Unsplash
In Robin Sharma’s book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, he stated that on average, the mind thinks 60,000 thoughts every single day. It doesn’t necessarily know which of those 60,000 thoughts belong to the top priority – save for those that are highly emotionally charged. And so because of this, most people are considered “sleepwalkers.” Their bodies are alive and awake, but their minds are suffering in a dozing state.

Scientifically, the best way to address this chaos is to help the mind (yes, apparently, we can help the mind) filter the thoughts that are more important than the rest; so that its energy is prioritized and directed to only a few special ones. We can do this by creating checklists.



From that controlled focus that checklists allows us to enjoy, the mind can then ignite the body more easily to take action.

The importance of checklists cannot be emphasized more. Every great achiever in any field makes a checklist. Pilots –no matter how advanced technology has progressed, still practice a checklist habit. Even the great chef Gordon Ramsay, in one of his TV shows, blasted out to a chef for not having a recipe checklist for his dish. He understands, like many other masters, that it’s a waste of time and a great risk going through the same thought process of remembering details every single time, especially under the heat of pressure.

Checklists are like mathematical formulas: they save precious mental energy and, in a way, process raw data to produce the desired output in an easier way. It is one of the most underestimated tools for gradual progress and efficient pursuit of any goal.

19 comments:

  1. Oh I’m a big fan of lists! I actually bought a notebook specifically for lists. There’s something very satisfying about creating and going through them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is awesome! I use Reminders as my checklist for daily life and work life. They definitely improve my life! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Totally agree :) We only have so much room in our brain for thoughts each day and making a checklist can help us reduce the load on our brain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 60,000 thoughts a day? No wonder people get addicted to social media!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So useful! i always do checklists - they help me a lot especially when I have lots of things to do!

    Lyosha
    Inside and Outside Blog

    ReplyDelete
  6. Getting a checklist down on paper can be so useful to help clear your mind and give you some space to actually think! It also means you're able to approach your tasks in order of priority.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am in big favor of checklist, find this so useful. Do my most of things as per checklist.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 'Helping the mind' sounds like something I do want to do. Being occupied with so many things at a single time, checklist is a savior. I need to start making a checklist to prioritize my work and complete it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ahh! Thank you so much for validating my obsession with check lists! Can’t live without them lol

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am really big on lists. My brain can not wrap around what I need to do unless it's written down.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have a dry erase board in my office with daily to-do, a checklist on my phone and computer. I would be lost without checklists!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I also follow this tip regularly for streamlining my work...it also gives me a great satisfaction in checking things off the list!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I totally agree. I realized it much later but after doing it life is so much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I totally agree with this. I always use checklist on my daily tasks and schedules. I can't live without them. lol!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can never get to bed early because it seems that is when I am getting into the meat of the day at midnight. But, I need to get better.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A checklist would drive me insane,but I can see why we should use one to improve life.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm a huge fan of lists! I get extremely confused if I have a lot of work on and I don't have a checklist with all my tasks in one place. And how satisfying is it to tick those little jobs off of the list as you get them done?! This is a massively useful post!

    Liz T

    ReplyDelete
  18. When I go to the store I always write a checklist for what I need so I won't overspend or/and buy stuff that I don't need.

    ReplyDelete