Getting anything done requires a certain amount of organization.  One of the simplest tools you can use to get stuff done is a checklist.  It allows you to both record what you need to do and also mark that it has been completed.

While the checklist is great, it has a big flaw.  It stresses immediate completion. 

You check a box or put a line through a task and it is complete.  Time to move onto the next item on the list.  The problem is that it does not embrace the areas of task completion that allow for human growth, unpacking the task you need to complete.

The solution for this has two components unpacking and slowing down.  First let’s look at the unpacking. 

This means taking the time to go document and review your process.  The checklist is also a great tool for this, but it just looks a little different.

Instead of something like this:

  • Make Cheese Sandwich

Your list could start to resemble something like this:

  • Go to store
    • Buy bread
    • Buy cheese
    • Buy mustard
  • Construct Sandwich
    • Put 2 slices of bread on plate
    • Add 3 pieces of cheese on a slice of bread
    • Add mustard to bread
    • Put bread on top of cheese, mustard side down

Yes, this looks ludicrous for making a Cheese Sandwich, but it does the second thing you need to start doing.  Which is to slow down. 

That slowness is a gift.  It forces you consider what you are doing, this in turn let’s YOU make decisions as to what goes on in accomplishing the task. 

It could be something simple, like what sort of mustard or cheese am I buying, or something deeper, like what sort CRM does my company really need.

At work you will often rush to get stuff done, but in the rushing you do not learn, iterate, and improve. More importantly, you do not bring your full range of experience to the task. 

You might be a genius who can keep all of this in their head and knock out tasks like a champ and bring all of your experience and skill to the that task.  But for the rest of us, slowing down and putting together a slightly more detailed checklist will not only improve the task, but also give us what we need to grow and to do the task better in the future.