A Daily Preflight Checklist

I love checklists. They are great for keeping us on track and there is a little adrenaline rush everytime we check something off. There is a reason that pilots have preflight and postflight checklists. In fact I have my own “pre-flight” checklist that I use each morning. This checklist insures that I start my day off with a clean slate ready to tackle whatever else may come my way. I’m also quite motivated because I can see that I’ve already accomplished a number of things.

The Physical Checklist: Although I do have Shadow Plan on my Palm, I don’t use it for my Daily Preflight Checklist. This checklist was developed in Microsoft Word using large checkboxes for bullets beside each item. I’ve printed it to a half page (5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″) of 110lb. card stock and then laminated the card. This allows me to use a whiteboard marker to check the items off each morning. When I’m finished I just erase the card and it’s ready for the next morning.

The Items on the Checklist: You’re probably wondering what sort of things are on my list. Well, here goes:

  • Daily Bible Reading
  • Read Dilbert Desk Calendar
  • Process Side Business Voice Mail
  • Process Side Business Email
  • Sync Palm
  • Process Personal Email
  • Empty Today’s Tickler File
  • Process Desk Inbox
  • Update Jornal

How It’s Working: I’ve been using this list for a couple months now and it works great. It takes from 15-30 minutes to complete each morning but it’s all stuff that I need or want to do anyway. You’ll notice that I have business items, personal items, pleasurable items, spiritual items, and organizational items. I find that I don’t resist doing any of these things because they are all so easy to do since they are broken down so simply. I don’t always do things straight from the top to the bottom, either. I can mix them up for variety as long as they are all checked off in the end.

Your Own Preflight Checklist: I would love to hear ideas about your own preflight checklist, what’s on it, how you use it, and how it’s improved your life. If you aren’t using one, give it a try and then come back in a couple weeks and let me know what you think.

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  • Reply
    11/29/2004 at 2:28 pm

    Hey Ricky

    Hi – I have noticed your site cropping in my referrals list so I popped over to check it out – good job. As for a daily checklist, it is one of those things that I am hoping to review but here’s what works for me at present:

    Mornings only:
    Paper Inbox – rarely used
    Loose Papers – agendas/minutes

    Email Inbox – main inbox
    Palm T3 – Diddlebug/Slap/Voice Memos
    Notebook – manually captured notes
    Landline Voicemail
    Mobile Voicemail

    Although I use Bonsai as an outliner, I have recently downloaded CheckList ( to use for simple, regularly/repeatedly used checklists instead in an effort to keep it simple. I used it to make up a sport bag packing list and a pre-race checklist for the 10k I ran yesterday and it worked pretty well.



  • Reply
    Jorge Ledesma DMD
    4/22/2005 at 8:54 am

    Hey Ricky,

    This is a wonderful example, I absolutely love it, I thought I was the only one to use these sort of daily list *LOL* but I’m glad to see other people really maximize their time, by the way I love your blog site, its really original not to crowded but just right congratulations….

  • Reply
    Ricky Spears’ Blog » Blog Archive » Make a Poor Man’s Desktop Writeboard for Under a Buck!
    11/10/2007 at 10:13 pm

    […] the best use for a tool like this is for frequently used checklists. Create templates for your morning pre-flight checklist, evening post-flight checklist, weekly review checklist, travel checklist, or other checklists that […]

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