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Do checklists really work?

We often hear discussions about if one should follow checklists or go with the flow. Discussions on such a simple topic could lead to an engaging debate on how to achieve your targets in life. Personally I’m not someone who follows a checklist but at the same time I do understand the benefits of having the habit of ticking empty boxes. I incorporate this habit into some of the tasks that I do, but it’s not something that comes naturally to me.

Before we proceed further let’s figure out the ideal occasions for following a checklist
– At your work
– For your health
– For your self care routine

Most importantly for your groceries!!


In my experience, checklists work best for you when applied to inanimate objects / ideas, which implies when we impose checklists upon people or even ourselves we may get disappointed in the end. While it’s completely appropriate to have “choice” with respect to the kind of person you want to be or the kind of person you would want in your life, forcing them to fit into those empty boxes will not help.

Planning vs Spontaneity

Let’s try to compare the differences between planning (the basis for making and following a checklist) and spontaneity (the basis for creativity). Let’s say you want to draw a cat irrespective of whether you can draw a cat or not. So you’ll start with the pointed ears, cute whiskers, a happy tail and yes the forever flexible torso! Well you can plan to draw a cat. Your checklist for drawing the perfect cat should include all of its body parts including those killer cat eyes.

But I feel,
Creativity lies in spontaneity.

A cat is always cute but how about a cat with wings?

What would you call it ?
A winged cat? An Angel cat?

Overconfidence is natural trait in cats.

Now let’s imagine further more,

Suppose you want to start a business of mugs. You want to sell mugs with a picture of a cat with the wings on it. You think there are enough crazy people out there who will buy these mugs and you would make good money. Now this idea may have struck your lazy mind while you were busy laying on your couch. But to actualise this idea you definitely need to get out of your couch and start planning for it.

That is to start making a checklist.

Well I hope this makes some sense.

Blah blah blah

I believe it’s necessary to understand the scenarios in which a checklist would be beneficial. There are multiple techniques out there to help you achieve your goals, the crux lies in recognising your limitations as a person and the limitations of these techniques.

You can consider the below flowchart to gain more clarity,

Gathering ideas together and giving them shape requires a plan, a checklist.

When an idea is executed with creativity and discipline equally, only then the idea comes alive. I do not claim to know how to do this. But recently this revelation just popped in my mind. I’m working on it and just wanted to share it with everyone who is experiencing some kind of block in their lives right now.

Is there any conclusion..

What do you think now, are checklists really helpful?

I hope your answer is beyond a single Yes or No.

Hope this post was helpful!!

Happy Reading!!

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