And they can become mindless activities as well. Checking the box unthinkingly, or adding new items to the checklist without ever taking the time to trim some unnecessary items.
But I reckon they are still better than templates. They are definitely more lightweight.
I just created a checklist to help someone with little project experience think through their project needs. Take a look. I'd appreciate some feedback.
It's not perfect. It's not even complete, I'd say. But how would it stand up as a newbie guide?