The Importance of Checklists and Habits

The Importance of Checklists and Habits

Ken Shaw

We all know the benefits of checklists; they are often handwritten notes or e-notes we create to help us remember items we might otherwise forget. I learned the importance of lists early on in my married life. Periodically, I would go to the grocery store after getting off work to pick up needed items then return home to realize I had forgotten several things. Having a list helped me to be more efficient.

Those of us who fly are thankful for aviation checklists where pilots and co-pilots make sure everything is ready before leaving the terminal. Back in the 1930s, this was not always the case. Very talented pilots were known to take off without disengaging the “gust locks” which ended in fatal consequences. As a result, checklists have become part of the standard operating procedures for pilots.

In the healthcare world, medical professionals are required to know the checklist of what to do in the event that a patient is no longer breathing or the patient’s heart stops. Knowing these steps can help save a person’s life.

I recently went to the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon and in awe, witnessed guest speaker Ron White meet 100 people and then within 15 minutes introduce those people to everyone in the room. White, the 2009 and 2010 USA Memory Champion, demonstrated how following a checklist of five things can improve our memory: Focus, File, Image, Action, and Review.

In school our students prepare for exams early on in the semester. Hopefully, they follow good test preparation checklists which include attending class, reading their textbooks, completing all of their daily homework assignments, studying with others, asking questions for clarification, reviewing their notes, and having plenty of sleep the night before the exam. Following this list will help students be successful.

Establishing good habits also leads to success.

Max Lucado describes four good habits for life: the habit of prayer, the habit of study, the habit of giving, and the habit of fellowship. At Southwestern Adventist University, faith is an important part of our culture, and the habit of prayer is paramount. The habit of study, as we learn more about the many disciplines that shape our world, is integral to our mission of increasing our knowledge. The habit of giving, underscoring our value to be responsible for ourselves, our neighbors, and our world, is evidenced by the weekly service projects in which our students engage. The habit of fellowship, experienced through daily worship services, team-building athletic programs, and social events, is vital as it is difficult to navigate the world alone; when we fellowship, we communicate, we encourage, and we learn from one another.

Whether we are going to the grocery store, preparing to fly, responding to an emergency code in the hospital, memorizing people’s names, studying for an exam, or just living life, checklists and habits are helpful in framing success.

This article is an opinion piece written by President Shaw for the Cleburne Times Review

Tagged with: