The Eagle Blog

Book Review – The Checklist Manifesto

The Checklist Manifesto … by Atul Gawande

I won’t even pretend to have read this book, however a friends sent me a link to the review by Harvey Schater in the Globe and Mail. It was an interesting review and I may well pick up the book because I really believe in the power of LISTS, whether they are To Do Lists or CheckLists.

I have blogged many times about the use of “To Do lists” in time management, one I wrote in 2008 was called Time Management Tips. the premise of checklists is similar, in that it organises your thoughts and ensures you get stuff done … BUT different in that it is designed more around a process, than a number of unrelated tasks.

Gawande is a doctor who gives some compelling reasons why, particularly as our world gets ever more complex, checklists are a way to ensure that things get done.

As a former aircraft mechanic we had checklists for everything, any inspection that was done involved a number of steps and the checklist ensured that those steps were taken.

Imagine if the “mental checklist” in your car mechanics head did not include tightening the wheel nuts after putting your Summer tires on! Gawande’s contention is that in an ever more complex world critical things can be missed and a well conceived checklist is a great way to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Checklists might ensure:

> all of the steps necessary in signing up a new client are completed correctly … avoiding embarrassment later.
> you have all of the things you need for your wilderness camping trip … it would be a little annoying to find you forgot a critical item when you arrive in the middle of nowhere.
> all of the correct safety checks have been made before you jump out of a plane … hopefully WITH a parachute!
> you continue to have inventory in your store when you need it.

There are a million uses for checklist … maybe it is a simple way to relieve stress in your world.


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2 thoughts on “Book Review – The Checklist Manifesto

  1. When I started in a "project coordinator" (read: stuff that no one else wants to do) position, one afternoon I was completely overwhelmed with all the things I had to do and I had no idea how I would get it done. I finally decided to just write out all the tasks on a scrap of paper, and seeing them in a list like that immediately relieved me of the stress I was feeling, and I proceeded to get it done. From that point on I used the sticky notes that come with MS Office for a while, until I cottoned onto the Tasks tool, which I use to this day.

  2. When I started in a "project coordinator" (read: stuff that no one else wants to do) position, one afternoon I was completely overwhelmed with all the things I had to do and I had no idea how I would get it done. I finally decided to just write out all the tasks on a scrap of paper, and seeing them in a list like that immediately relieved me of the stress I was feeling, and I proceeded to get it done. From that point on I used the sticky notes that come with MS Office for a while, until I cottoned onto the Tasks tool, which I use to this day.

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