Checklists are wonderful, in their place. If you’re flying a plane or piloting a spacecraft or doing an experiment on the ISS or performing a spacewalk to assemble something in Low Earth Orbit, you would be an idiot to do it without a checklist. And then follow the checklist.
Unless there’s an emergency. But then you have an emergency checklist, so you just switch to that. Generally, due to their nature, pilots and doctors and EMTs and Marines and astronauts who might need an emergency checklist have the first few steps memorized and well practiced, so that if/when the emergency hits they can react and buy themselves time to actually get to a printed checklist.
Where checklists are not appropriate is in my daily routine, especially when it comes time to go to bed. Granted, they’re mental checklists, not literal written ones, but I still find myself saying, “Damn, I’m tired, it’s time for some sleep. Wait! I still have to do this, that, and then some other thing…”
This could be a sign that I’m doing it incorrectly. I need some spontaneity!
I’ll put spontaneity on tomorrow’s checklist to make sure I don’t forget to do it.
(C’mon, that was a easy one.)