Running and personal checklists

I wonder how many people out there keep personal daily checklists. I’m thinking of developing one. There are quite a few things I’d like to do on a daily or weekly basis. I tend to be someone who likes seeing progress in some chartable form and this ability to chart progress definitely motivates me.

For instance, I have long wanted to be a runner. I have many times started exercise programs and incorporated running or walking into the program. Last winter, when I was working out at the gym I realized that I especially like walking or running for long distances. Once I was on the treadmill, I preferred going for 45 minutes rather than just doing 20 and being done with it. But what I really wanted was to run and walk longer distances outside. I tried a few times to run outdoors in winter and I couldn’t stand it. The cold was simply too much.

Later in the summer, I decided once again to give it a try. This time I was walking and running outside and I was enjoying it, but what really got me hooked I think was when I started using Nike+ with my iPod. To use it, you need a small chip which you put in your shoe (or put inside a little pouch that attaches to your shoelaces). The chip acts like a pedometer, transmitting a signal, presumably whenever you take a step. You have several choices for a receiver to keep track of your progress. iPod Touches and iPhones have an app built into it that you can use to track your runs. You can also buy an attachment for other iPods or you can buy a separate bracelet to track your runs.

The Nike+ system will keep track of your distance, time, and even calories spent. Every time you sync your iPod, your data will be uploaded to the Nike website where you can graphically see your progress, set goals, and participate in challenges with other runners. It does need some calibration, but it’s accurate enough to at least tell you when you are making progress. For me, it’s just the kind of nudge I need to keep going. So far, I’ve run or walked over 200 miles with Nike+ and my goal is to do another 700 – 1000 miles this year with it. In part because of the Nike+ system, this fall I ran my first 5K and 10K races.

Anyway, there are a number of things that I’m working on that I’d like to keep at it, things that if I did every day, I would see significant progress in the next year. I’d like to practice playing guitar each day (a new hobby I took up in the fall). I’d like to keep up better with my online business, making sure to do a few key tasks each day. I’d also like to keep this blog up (I’ll refrain from stating a goal, since I think it will be doomed as soon as I choose to make such a blogging goal public.). There are a few other things I’m sure I’ll want to include.

This brings me to a story I heard today on the radio. It was about some research that indicated that if surgeons followed some simple changes to their procedures, like instituting surgical checklists (similar to the checklists that pilots use when preparing to fly), they would likely have better outcomes and fewer mistakes. It got me thinking that I may want to develop a simple daily and weekly checklist for myself. That’s what I intend to do. I’m going to keep it simple at first, with a minimum of things to do and then slowly add things to it. Perhaps I’ll publish it after I’ve revised it a few times.

3 thoughts on “Running and personal checklists”

  1. I’m a big list guy too, though now it mostly goes into a GTD system. I’ve been thinking about this for the New Year too. Like: every day I want to read a little bit, run a few times a week, etc.

    One challenge I always find with this though is the balance between pressure to complete things on the list and accept the realities of days/weeks when things are not accomplished. For instance, if things get crazy in a week and I don’t have time for running, it’s better to just move forward and run the next week then beat myself up.

    I’d love to see your list!

  2. I’ve divided my list into three categories: things I want to do every day, things I want to do every week day, and things I want to do 1 or more times a week.

    – Blogging is on the list, although I won’t say how often I’m shooting for.
    – I want to talk to my dad twice a week, something that will be hard when he is out of town, but I can still give it a try.
    – I also want to talk to friends on the phone at least twice a week.
    – Guitar is a daily activity.
    – I’m shooting for running or walking 3-4 times a week.

    Besides that it’s mostly business goals. I’m sure I’ll add some things and maybe scale back some items. The point is giving myself a nudge in the right direction, not beating myself up because I didn’t complete certain tasks.

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