Sunday, 24 March 2013

Give yourself a checkup.

Throttle? Check. Flaps? Check. Strobes? Check. As a pilot prepares for takeoff, there's a mandatory checklist to run through so nothing's forgotten and everything's tested. Checklists make huge sense. In fact in his recent book, 'The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right', author Atul Gawande (a surgeon) shows how briefly pausing to run through a task's requirements before starting it has huge value. Saves lives even.

We carry mental checklists with us all the time, of course. Whether consciously or subconsciously it's how you're able to walk out of the house without leaving the iron on.

Going through the twenty Moodscope cards every morning is, I'm sure, rather like running a ruler over my state of mind. It's a kind of checklist for my mood. But you can think in mental checklist terms on other occasions too. Next time you're sitting in traffic or lying in bed about to get up, why not make a point of deliberately and consciously asking yourself how you feel? Being aware of your mood is a first step towards managing it. Quite a big step actually.