Checklists work for me

Checklists work for me

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Some days you just wake up with a sense of happy anticipation – like something wonderful is going to happen. And nothing seems to be able to dampen your spirits. Not cranky kids, not the power cut in the gym, not the fact that the husband has to travel… Nothing.


Well that’s what yesterday was. Rains have arrived here, finally, so the weather was just perfect. At least four wonderful people I know were celebrating birthdays and the warmth and love from Facebook kind of spilled into my day and made it even sunnier.

Feeling very inspired and determined to hold on to this feeling I went over the day trying to identify possible trouble areas.

One of the most testing times of my day, I realised, is when the kids get back from school. They are tired and probably hungry, yet are bursting with things to tell… both of them simultaneously. I have a hard time keeping up two full fledged often very different conversations.

Then there’s the issue of lunch. For me the top priority is that they get cleaned up and get to their lunch/snack FAST, since it’s four by the the time the bus drops them. For them that’s about 100th on the list. 

I end up hurrying them, barking out a bunch of instructions which seem like an unending list – a huge and painful one at that. They dawdle and bicker and end up in tears.   

A few days back a friend shared the idea of having a task checklist. Well I decided to come up with mine….. with an incentive too.

A tick in each column for ten straight days gets them a small gift. 

When I showed them the list they seemed cynical at best. Sure sign that they’re growing up! I refused to let my enthusiasm were off cajoling them to at least try it.
It was a slow start (why do we have to put our shoes inside? Whey do we always have to wear chappals. But soon they were running around the house doing stuff, giggling, ticking it off – oh it was fun and they got most of it done.
Of course it’s just day 1 and they might/will tire of it and that will be fine, because the idea is NOT to turn them into tiny robots but to get the basic habit in place. It’s like ‘oh today I forgot to put my tiffin for washing.. Rather than see ma today I remembered to put it for washing.
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26 Replies to “Checklists work for me”

  1. I like your idea of a gift after a tick in each column for ten straight days! You could even have small gifts for 9/10 and 8/10.

    The value of task checklists is realised only after implementing the idea. My service team introduced the concept of Preventive Maintenance Schedules (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual, each consisting of a list of small tasks) for our customers' machines. This had never been done in our industry in India. The customers were sceptical about the idea, but they went along just to humour us. A year later, when we proved to them that the machines maintained by us had much fewer breakdowns than other machines which did not have the Preventive Maintenance Schedules, they decided to introduce Preventive Maintenance Schedules for those machines also.

  2. I love lists! I live for them. And the magnetic responsibility chart has been a lifesaver for me where GY is concerned. Good going, Tulika. I hope that they come around to the idea soon and make it all worth your while 🙂

  3. Loved this very creative and liked the way you have prioritized the various tasks. A great idea! Looking forward to see who won the gifts at the end of the week! 🙂

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