The Power of Checklists

When I first started to learn how to fly an airplane I very quickly learned the value of checklists. You don’t just take the plane out to the runway, and fly. There are a hundred odd meticulous steps you must go through individually to ensure that the mechanics of the airplane are fully functioning, and the safety gear is also ready to go.  While a checklist does not minimize the chances of something going wrong, it certainly lessens the probability.

On a Cessna 172R you have a small laminated booklet that you go through (out loud), “rudders working fine, check” – all the while actually testing that part. If you have flown commercially you have likely seen the pilot and co-pilot sitting on the flight deck running through a booklet and hitting a series of buttons while you boarded the plane, all the way up until its time to close the door (and it doesn’t stop then). Whether you have flown ten times, or have several thousand flying hours in an airplane logged, you do this every time. Every. Single. Time.

I recently interviewed Grayson Rose on StockCharts TV, and one of the things we spoke about was from a training perspective and I asked him what is his process for going through charts daily and weekly. He shared with me a program he uses called Workflowy to check off each box every week. We proceeded to discuss how we use these systematic checklists to look at the data in the same way each day and week because it allows us to easily recognize when something changes. Besides being informed, it allows you to see a trend over time. When there is an inflection point, a downturn, or an improvement, these processes allows you to see them in a consistent way.

I use a program called Asana, which is really a project management tool with great task management tools. It is unique because I can allow tasks to repeat automatically, so my systematic process remains the same over time. (every day, week, etc). I have even started using this for personal tasks.

My question to you as an investor:

What is one process that you routinely do that you do not have a checklist for, but should? What are some things that you could add to your daily routine to be able to look at each piece of the process and streamline the process? What programs you could use to automate for you?

It sounds so minute to have each task listed individually, and to have to manually check them off, but don’t minimize the importance of that. It is the consistency of the routine that will help you to streamline and simplify so many of your processes.


Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Please see the Disclaimer page for full details.