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.)
You Wanna be a Hero? Grow a Set and Systemize
by Shanna Mann
“We don't like checklists. They can be painstaking. They're not much fun. But I don't think the issue here is mere laziness. There's something deeper, more visceral going on, when people walk away not only from savign lives, but making money. It somehow feels beneath us to use a checklist, an embarrassment. It runs counter to deeply held beliefs about how the truly great among us – those we aspire to be-- handle situations of high stakes and complexity. The truly great are daring. They improvise. They do not follow checklists.
“Maybe our idea of heroism needs updating.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto
In this article I will be sharing my techniques to save you time and enable you to be more spontaneous.
Setting yourself up initially will require an investment of several hours, but the rewards make it well worth it. These rewards include greater freedom to do what you want when you want to do it, adding hours to your life each week by eliminating the time and effort that you'd otherwise spend preparing on the spot, a sense of security knowing that you will rarely be caught unprepared, and a sense of gratification and pride when you have the tools you need on hand for an array of opportunities.