Why YOU Need a Happy Checklist

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Cockpit

Here's a free career tip:

I don’t care if you are a doctor, lawyer, or chef, you need a checklist.  If you are a teacher, frontline worker, or PCG database administrator … YOU need checklists to do your most important tasks or to fix your most complex issues. This is not my original thinking, but it is laid out pretty dang well in this book:

The Checklist Manifesto
The Checklist Manifesto

I read Checklist Manifesto about 10 years ago during a layover in DC … back when we flew commercial airlines to visit our clients.  Novel idea before novel viruses were talked about 24/7.  This book was of particular interest to me because I had been schooled in the usage of CHECKLIST to fly a Cessna 172 as a student pilot.

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Pilots
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown pilots

Whether you fly the little private planes, big commercial airliners, or a SPACEX rocket, every pilot is familiar with the same basic pre-take-off (launch) process flows, checklists, and memory items.

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Pre-Takeoff Flow
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Pre-Takeoff Flow

There are tasks you MUST remember … like putting down the landing gear when the plane intercepts glideslope.  This is a memory item that keeps you off the local news.

"The Checklist Manifesto" by Dr. Atul Gawande

This book got everyone else thinking about the importance of “CHECKLIST.”  His particular interest was in public health, but he quickly illuminated the value of checklist methodology in construction, consulting, military, and other industries.  More importantly, as you read his book it becomes obvious that everyone should be using checklists to convert “thinking tasks” into “execution tasks.”

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Checklist
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Checklist

Basically, our lives have become too complex to hold all the data, analytics, and communication functions in our brains at one time. So, by building “do-confirm” and “read-do” checklists, the person doing a task can stop thinking, “what’s next.”  Different types of checklists should be constructed, tested, and updated to make sure that all important tasks are done correctly.  Personally, I don’t think it matters if the task at hand is for work, play, or doing family chores.

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Circle
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Circle

Lately, I’ve been hearing a ton about UNHAPPY PEOPLE.  Neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, and the general public are STRESSED OUT.  Social injustice, financial pressures, and COVID global lock down certainly have us all trying to find a better and more equitable NEW NORMAL.

All this “EXTERNALITY” stuff is making life more complicated and frustrating … which is why we MUST do a better job getting the important things accomplished and making fewer existential mistakes.

Which brings me to talking about the most recent book the Universe put in front of me, “KIND of wonderful” by Amelia Riedler. It’s a guide journal to make each day a little kinder. Her words not mine. I have absolutely NO IDEA how this book found its’ way on the dock just before a Key West sunrise.

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Kind of Wonderful
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Kind of Wonderful
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Sunrise Key West Sugarbush
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Sunrise Key West Sugarbush

Her book got me thinking about what it takes to be kind, to be happy, to live a life that full of growth and connection.  Which requires me to circle back to the notion of a Happy Checklists that would apply at work or play with friends and family.  So here’s what I came up with...

TOP 5 REASONS TO BUILD A HAPPY CHECKLIST

  • 1 Your time of earth is finite with no predictable end. You can’t waste time.
  • 2 You need to optimize your time. You want more time for the stuff you like.
  • 3 Many things in your life you can NOT control. You must manage the tasks what you can.
  • 4 You will get important stuff done … and make less BIG mistakes.
  • 5 You get to prioritize what will truly make you happiest.

While I could never possibly make YOUR happy checklist, I did use the KIND guide to construct a draft of a checklist that supports the following drivers of a Happy Guide Flow...

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Flow
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Flow

Similar to a pilot’s checklist, the Happy Checklist must support the mission-critical tasks of a professional and personal life. So without permission, I took the “tasks” provided in the guided KIND journal and put them into the BIG 7 happiness driver categories. Please note: I did feel like some of Riedler’s tasks were out right mean (the opposite of being kind), so I deleted them.  Also, to adhere to Dr. Gawande’s requirement that we keep it short and sweet, each task was limited to 5 subtasks. So the leftover tasks got put under the “BE KIND” Memory Items.

Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Checklist
Kelli Hull Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide Checklist

Here's Todays Vid Clip

Author Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide
Author Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide

Tony McLean Brown

A Western NC hillbilly through and through, Tony McLean Brown was born in the small town of Enka-Candler outside of Asheville.  His parents re-named him when he was 3 years old to Tony (a nickname provided by his grandfather) McLean (middle name of his Uncle Michael) while retaining his legal surname Brown.

Throughout his career, Tony McLean Brown worked as a farmer, computer programmer, and management consultant – in his adventurous years – author, song-writer, bass player, poet, pilot, mountaineer, certified scuba diver, and competitor in professional bull riding, NASCAR late model racing, Toughman boxing, Crossfit Open, Ironman, pole vaulting, marathon and ultra-marathon running, as well as parenting.

www.HappyGuidetoaShortLife.com has been leveraged to help charities and non-profits across the globe, USA, NC, and Lake Norman area. If you, your family, school, church, or charity has been supported, please take the time to share, like, subscribe, comment, and provide a 5 star review!

Leave a Comment