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For so many years, I have been using check-lists. It seems very useful. I seem to recommend it to everyone in one form or another. I have always wondered why people are not understanding how productive it is to use a simple check-list. The nature of my jobs over the last 20 years have made me wise and have helped me understand the importance and nature of a check-list. But I understood more about this recently. Hence this post.
Check-lists are basically about having existing knowledge in a written form to remind ourselves and others to follow what we already know. They help us deliver consistently. They reduce mistakes.
I have come across this failure to apply existing knowledge in all forms, everyday. Missing an ingredient while cooking, or not following the protocol in adding that ingredient while cooking, sending an email without that important answer or perspective, forgetting to ask that vital question during the visit to the doctor, not taking an important gadget/notebook/accessory to that important class or meeting, forgetting to follow the SOP at work , not remembering a meeting or promise, missing a payment due and the list is endless. Everyone can draw their own recent miss-lists.
All these are simple failures like forgetting a step or an overlooked thing. We do not apply existing knowledge and miss it for many justifiable reasons. But the results are not what we desired. We regret that we could have remembered. We regret that we did not apply the knowledge that existed with us. Sometimes they cost us dearly. So what’s the way out?
The only way out to get things right is using a simple check-list. Its that simple. It amazingly reduces your mistakes of this kind.
I am currently reading a book, “The CHECKLiST Manifesto” by Atul Gawande (Penguin Books). The Check-List has been explained with all its seriousness with more examples in this book. The author explains how one can use a check-list for all kinds of problems: the simple, the complicated, and the complex. A wonderful read and inspiring.
Pick up a copy and read it for sure. You will be grateful to me for recommending that to you. It can do a lot to your life.