Category: GYST Checklists

The Magic of Checklists

2Does a checklist really help? Yup. We think so.

A simple checklist can take the immense categories of ‘Important Life Stuff’ and break it into bite size pieces.

Get Started with our new Online Checklist with our super easy 10 step guide to help you get your will and living will done.

Check out the original Everything Checklist to get a big picture look at where you are and what to do.


Curious about the art and science of checklists? Read on…

 Why is This so Hard?

“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”
― David AllenGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

We often think daily battle for attention outlined by Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People between the Urgent and Important is the main culprit: the pets need a walk, the kids have homework, the kitchen sink is dripping, out of town guests are coming and you still need groceries for dinner. Even though we ‘want’, and even admit that we ‘need’ to do this stuff – it sinks to the bottom of the list, often for years.

So next, GYST wanted to know what specifically is getting in your way so we can work towards getting it out – here’s what you told us are the biggest barriers to Getting Your Shit Together.

Simply put, we are overwhelmed, don’t have time, and don’t know where to start.

Momentum & Motivation

The mountain of philosophies on productivity comes along with competing apps, methods, programs, and systems -in addition to tons of general advice to relax your way to productivity, lifehacks to boost it or numerous TED talks to explore how it works.

But we also need to talk about is motivation – there must be some explanation as to why we so passionately avoid doing the things we know we must do – and Dan Pink’s TED talk on motivation is pretty illuminating. What really motivates us? “Autonomy, mastery and purpose”.

A favorite quote:

“The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive– the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things cause they matter.”

All interesting stuff. In fact, we love the TED talk playlist on “Success” for its buckets full of inspiration, and reminder to focus on the important things.

A Checklist?

Well, nothing matters more than the people you love. So we are going to get your house in order – together. The ‘checklist master’ Atul Gawande has thankfully done a lot of the heavy lifting to show us how in his New York Time bestseller, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Done Right – When Gawande’s team introduced a two-minute checklist to eight hospitals as part of a research study in 2008, deaths dropped 47%. So how do we use what he’s learned to increase our ability to get stuff done?

So, how do we do it right?

Legal and financial documents can be soul-crushing to read, much less understand. We’ve also got a lot of time clocked ‘not’ doing this stuff, so our checklist needs to be enough to get us moving. But, not too much that we throw up our hands in surrender.

The # 1 rule to making a checklist from Gawande’s Manifesto is to use simple sentence structure and basic language.

“Good checklists, on the other hand are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”