Checking it Off

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

This next Sunday, October 30, is National Checklist Day.  to-do-listSo, my questions for you are: 

  • Do you use a checklist? 
  • Where do you use it (home, office, recreation)? 
  • Do you find it helpful?

I am a big list maker.  I love organization, but am forgetful enough and lazy enough that it just doesn’t seem to happen very naturally for me.  Getting older doesn’t help.  I have found (short of a checklist) if you want to remember something, tell a child.  Of course, this action plan doesn’t work very well if they are supposed to remind you to have them clean their room.  Oh, they remember all right – they remember NOT to tell you!

We all have checklists, whether we know it or not.  It is either in written/digital form or in mental form.  The trouble is that our mental files get filled rather quickly and then things tend to get lost.  That’s when you get the phone call from your dentist that you missed your appointment at 10:00 or you spend unproductive time trying to recall that one thing that you just had to do.  I went through a particularly stressful time in my life where I felt I was balancing too many plates.  I would end up with a sort of night terror where I would literally sit bolt upright in the middle of the night and cry out, “Oh no!  I forgot to…”  The trouble was that I could never really recall what I had forgotten that was so crucial.  All I knew, as I was panicking in the darkness, was that the thing that I had forgotten to do was vital to life and happiness.  I’m sure my husband could tell you that being awakened out of a sound sleep this way is not conducive to a happy relationship!

To save my sanity and my marriage, I have put into practice a daily checklist.  There are many digital apps that can help with this endeavor.  I have downloaded quite a few, but can I share a secret with you?  I prefer paper and pencil.  I think there is something really satisfying about dragging my lead over some words and knocking them off the to-do list.  You can tell that it’s a particularly onerous task when I have scratched it off with such force that I practically have made a hole in the paper!

I have heard some critics say that a checklist makes them depressed because they focus on what they didn’t cross off at the end of the day and feel uncompleted.  I guess it’s a glass half empty or half full thing.  Being an optimist,  I always have more on my list than what I ever can accomplish.  Yet, I feel good in knowing that many of the things I marked off would have not even been attempted without acknowledging them on a list.  The items that were neglected today can almost always be put on tomorrow’s list.  I just have to be careful to not let the same things keep sliding onto the next day because you know the song about tomorrow – “Tomorrow never comes”!

To get you started, I’m including two links below for all subscribers to download a daily schedule (full or half page) that they can print off and then add in time specific tasks for the day.  Please note that this offering is a new concept in blogging for me.  If you are a previous subscriber and cannot get the link without resubscribing, please email me first.  Also, if you’d like to print the smaller half page but have two per page, just go to file, print, pages =1,1, uncollated, and continue on landscape.



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2 thoughts on “Checking it Off

  1. Diana says:

    I love making lists! I make them at home where I am trying to keep myself on track so I don’t get behind or forget something like cat food- the cats won’t let me forget that though. I make lists at work too of things to do or finish. Sometimes I give them a check mark for a certain part of it that is done, then it gets crossed off when finished. I feel like I am accomplishing something as I cross them off. I remember hearing somewhere that you are 75% more likely to achieve something if you have it on a list. Whether it be little things to do or goals in life.

    • Heidi says:

      I think checklists are not only motivational (to get more done), but they can be a matter of life and death. While looking up National Checklist Day, I found that it was instituted because of an air disaster in 1935 that resulted from simply forgetting to do a routine thing. See The fact that checklists are standard in many high tech corporations, like hospitals, are proof than they are good for more than just old ladies with forgetful memories, like me!

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