“A bad system will beat a good person every time.”
— W. Edwards Deming
Here’s the reason I love lists: They work.
I used to find ways of storing as much as I could in my head. I became pretty good at it.
The problem was that whenever something distracted me from the routine I’d prepared for I invariably forget something.
This got to the point where I was putting out fires left and right, and finally accepting the fact that I couldn’t keep up with the things I had to get done and the things that were coming at me.
I’d used checklists earlier and put the habit aside because a lot of it became second nature.
When I started producing music having a checklist became a necessary part of the process. Things needed to get done within a certain time frame and in the right order. You don’t want to be sitting there going: “So, what’s next?” when the clock is ticking and you’ve got another session in 30 minutes.
While this is all well and good, I still slip up from time to time.
Today I had a couple of important documents I wanted to mail. I thought that I wouldn’t forget about them because mailing them was my primary objective.
I crossed off all but two items off my checklist. They weren’t top priority anyway and as long as I get them done by the weekend I’m golden.
However, something bugged me. It felt as if something hadn’t been taken care of.
Lo and behold, as I reached into my jacket I find the documents folded neatly in my pocket.
When I take out my checklist I can notice the distinct absence of the item “Mail Documents”.
Now, it’s not a catastrophe and they’ll get where they’re going before the 25th anyway. But just the mere fact that I somehow thought that it was “too important” or “too obvious” to be included in the list shows that I’ve still got some work to do.
Systems are only useful if they are in fact used.
I’ll leave you today with two videos to get you pumped about lists and systems.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!