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In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. Today I remind you of a habit you shouldn’t allow to die.

Power of the List

(Urgent vs Important – The Story of Priorities)

graphic detailing points of wisdom regarding habits

“  The next thing you do today will be the most important thing on your agenda, because, after all, you’re doing it next. Well, perhaps it will be the most urgent thing. Or the easiest. In fact, the most important thing probably isn’t even on your agenda.  ”  —  Seth Godin, The Most Important Thing

I fully agree with this statement.

We have stopped using lists, in particular To Do lists. Nowadays, with computers and smart phones, what we should do often gets lost due to information overload / noise. Despite the conveniences and wonderful tools and apps these machines provide, information is getting ‘lost’ and no longer visible. We allow their power to disable us – we rely on machines which are not able to think (at least not yet!).

The power of lists lies in the “3 F‘s”:

Writing out a list forces us to Focus on what is important and has to be done next.
A list, used effectively, compels us to Finish what we start.
We get Fulfilment from ‘crossing out’ completed items.

All of these are highly visible, making keeping lists a most worthwhile habit to cultivate.
Using lists requires the habits of discipline and diligence. What is important is to keep the To Do list short, simple, relevant and realistic. Focus on the most important things you shouldn’t forget to do today. (Urgent matters will appear on your doorstep all on their own – you don’t have to keep a list for those!)

The same principles apply to checklists.

Would you want to fly in an aircraft where the team in the cockpit is not using pre-flight checklists that are simple, relevant and focused on the important things for take-off and a safe flight?


  • Look at your personal habits of getting important things done and reconsider using the good old, tested and trusted To Do list.
  • Examine your “pre-flight” / start-up checklists. Do they focus on the critical items or are they complicated and cluttered with unnecessary information?


Circle of safety

Who Am I? (Make it a habit)

Pen to Paper (Safety on a shoe string)

“Waiting at the Doctor’s – Time & Priorities” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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