The power of Trigger Checklists

When you come up with a new goal, task or something that you are assigned. You should immediately set into place all the items required to make something happen. This is not doing all the work right now but for every major task or goal there are steps you will need to take to make sure things get done and get done well.

An example from my work -  if I am having a review session on a set of data and I want to make sure the session is productive  I need to setup

  • Time to review the data myself
  • Time to review with key person and plan on structring info
  • Prep the info for review
  • Review
  • Have meeting - Capture minutes
  • Get minutes and action items out
  • Repeat as needes 

This is a pretty standard set of actions, for different goals or tasks there may be a little more customization but the idea when something gets set, you need to immediately plan to make it happen, this does a couple of things:

  • First, it makes your task more likely to be a success as you have thought about how to accomplish the task and that strategic planning helps
  • Second, by blocking the time you now should be able to work on the task more fully and not get held up in small things
  • Third, by blocking the time you have a better sense of what you need to do and lower the risk of getting over extended. 

A Trigger Checklist  combines the power of a checklist with the power of blocking and planning. As you do it more tt also becomes a habit which will put you in a better place to be ever more successful.

Very few tasks are independent and one offs, many have work dependencies, and many take more that just having a meeting. If youdon't plan for the work you end up having a meeting where the same issues that you called the meeting for originally are still valid, time has passed and no progress has been made, in this case people often get into a cycle call another meeting and repeat without making good progress. Meetings are a component of work, but they are not the totality almost everything to get done well requires you to sit down and do some work before and after a meeting, block the time to do this and you will be able to be much more productive.

Thanks for the inspiration for this idea goes to Atul Gawande, Jocko Wilink and my wife.


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