In The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, he gives advice on how to design a checklist. The main problem? It's buried within the text. So I took the liberty of creating a checklist of my own. Ah, so meta.
The first thing you have to decide is what the trigger will be for you to consult your checklist. Where you put it depends on whether you have a Do-Confirm checklist or a Read-Do checklist
"When surgeons make sure to wash their hands or talk to everyone on the team, they improve their outcomes with no increase in skill. That's what we're doing when we use the checklist." (emphasis mine)
Shanna Mann is kind of geeky about creating SOPs and checklists. She writes at Change Catalyst, and teaches clients to design systems from which to trust their instincts. No, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Yeah - 'memory-based' checklists - I find that the very act of writing it down, plus the process of making what I'm writing make sense, imprints things pretty solidly (unless it's something that I have a BigBlock against doing anyway.)
Thanks, Shanna, for your "Around the Web" pointer, or I'd never have found this!
I think Gawande would probably say that you need to break the process into segments. His examples in surgery seem to indicate they pause for the checklist at least a few times.
For my own process, (geek warning) I have a binder of SOPs which is basically a record of the systems I've taken the time to optimize. It's heavy and unwieldy and isn't used often, but I find the practice of recording and refining the system largely internalizes it. I imagine someday when I get a VA it will be worth its weight in gold, though.
The binder is supplemented by checklists on Post-its or short-cuts in my desk top. (I favor do-confirm checklists.)
Gosh, I like the Wall Street Journal a lot. I like this piece, too -
No You Can't: "Is genius a simple matter of hard work? Not a chance"
I like the whole piece, except I disagree with the conclusions.
You'd need a certain baseline to be able to do the kind of work or craft you want to do. Enough to understand the discipline. But that's not such a high bar.
If you can understand the discipline, then, is it possible to make incremental progress every single week? Could you tighten your fundamentals, study related disciplines for synergy and crossover, and experiment on the hardest problems every single week?
Let's talk about programming. Everyone says you need it these days. Even I do. But, how should you learn to code? Codecademy, KhanAcademy, or other pseudo-learning techniques? Maybe a book, like Learn Code The Hard Way. What language should you learn, and what software should you code in? The questions are endless!
I'm here to give you a solution for you (and myself). Here's an 8-step guide for learning to code.
Everyone knows that goals are pointless if they're not specific. If you don't define your success, you're just flailing around randomly. Therefore, have something you want to build.
Think of coding like woodworking. You want to learn how to manipulate wood to make beautiful objects. Would you start hacking away randomly? No. Then why would you do that with code?