Checklists are a way of life for project managers and grownups everywhere, including me. In addition to the checklists I keep at work to manage tasks, track projects and evaluate processes, I have a daily personal checklist I use to check in on how I’m doing at life.
My personal checklist has six items, each in the form of a question. These are the things I reflect on each evening – on the commute home from work and as I’m falling asleep. As I’m running down the list, I don’t dwell for too long on any one question. Just long enough to let my gut tell me “yes” or “no.” It’s rare that any one day will have six “yeses” but it’s something I’m working toward.
My daily checklist:
1) Was I productive? As a knowledge worker, my output isn’t always quantifiable in terms of deliverables. Sometimes it’s just inching the program forward, even if a lot of progress isn’t made – and staying positive about it.
2) Was I content? This item is all about attitude. Was I kind? Pleasant? Grateful? Did I moderate my emotions and focus on love? Did I see the best in others and practice grace and forgiveness? Did I abstain from anger?
3) Was I a good steward of my family’s money? As family of four in a high COL city like Chicago, we definitely have days when we’re “hemorrhaging money.” As long as I spent wisely, moderately and intentionally, I give myself a “yes” for this one. And a big all caps YES if I managed to spend zero.
4) Did I eat moderately? Now that I’m done with babies, I can finally focus on what I need to do to manage my weight – set a goal for what I consume each day and track it carefully. Three of my favorite online tools are: BodyMedia Fit armband, Weight Watchers, and FitBit. I’ve used all three and love them – although BodyMedia Fit gets my vote for easiest to use.
5) Was I active? Did I get 10K steps or do something fun like dance, climb stairs? I use a FitBit to track activity, but have used a BodyMedia Fit armband in the past. Gamification of activity is a great way to keep it fun and get results.
6) Did I brush my teeth? This is the gimme on the list. If all else falls apart and I’m unproductive, angry, spendy, piggy and slothful (sounds like a typical weekend), I can brush my teeth at the end of the day and feel like I did something right.
It’s interesting to note that my list goes from least- to most-quantifiable. Also interesting to note the tools that I use to stay on track. Productivity and attitude are the hardest to measure and gamify – wouldn’t that be great though?
So, that’s my checklist – do you have one? What’s on it? Tell me about it in the comments.
A note about my posting schedule: clearly, I have been remiss in posting. My big work project for 2013 is consuming a lot of my time and brain space outside of work hours. If you want to know what I’m reading and thinking about, join me in Content Strategy for Law Firms, my LinkedIn group. Learn more about the group here.
written by Molly Porter