A checklist for every day

One ought, every day at least,
to hear a little song,
read a good poem,
see a fine picture,
and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship

I like this advice because it is about appreciating, not creating. And the good thing is it can be used as a Checklist for Everyday.

In the professional world, checklists are a huge component to the daily work of pilots and surgeons. Detailed step-by-step checklists help fight complacency in the cockpit, and maintain safe operation of the aircraft during all phases of flight, from gate to gate. In hospitals, medical teams use checklists to ensure surgical procedures go smoothly.

The Art of Manliness provides a historical look at checklists, along with a detailed primer in deciding which lists will work for you, sourced from the excellent book The Checklist Manifesto. You can implement the similar checklist(routine) in your daily life to help give you a greater shot at success.

Here’s a problem worth solving:
Am I doing the thing I am most needed to be doing right now?

Here is an example of my daily checklist:

  • Start your day with a prayer.
  • Think of three things you’re grateful for. Be specific.
  • Never start your day with a newspaper or TV.
  • Workout or go for a walk – don’t sit all day!
  • Think of one thing you learned today. Journalize it, why not!
  • One day a week, ignore this list entirely.
  • Forgive yourself for your imperfection and remember that everyday is everyday. Tomorrow will soon be today. There’s more time.

Notice that social media, reading news, watching TV, checking email, browsing my favorite sites, sharing photos … none of these are on the list. If I’m doing one of these things and not one of my daily checklist items, I’m probably not doing the right thing.

Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What else would you add to the list?


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