Despite the fact that we at Flexiana are professionals in industries in which we have been working for decades, it is only human that during daily routines we forget about some actions that can subsequently affect the final product of our entire work.
This raises a question whether these, what one may call, amateur mistakes could be easily prevented?
One option is properly created checklists.
Each day we process an overwhelming amount of information and take on more responsibility. We may know what’s best, and we are confident in our actions due to our experience, but we are bound to forget small details and miss important steps. These oversights cause our co-workers, managers, and customers to doubt the quality of our work. Checklists help us defend against such oversights more than we realize, and if done right, they create a fail proof mechanism that makes us more consistent, achieve better results and ultimately be more effective.
“Checklists not only offer the possibility of verification but also instill a kind of discipline of higher performance.”
To many people, especially professionals, the checklists may seem as an added redundancy. That’s why we need to make the checklists efficient and effective. The more efficient a checklist is, the more likely we’ll use it. The more effective a checklist is, the more mistakes we’ll catch and the more we’ll use it.
But how to make a useful checklist?
By using the following points.
- Pause Point Every checklist must have a clear trigger – a location or routine action that reminds you to pause and complete the checklist. For example, I could use a checklist when I am about to publish a new content article to verify the article’s content, grammar, and spelling. The pause point would be just before I hit the ‘publish’ button.
- Speedy Aviation checklist specialist Dan Boorman recommends making each checklist less than 60 seconds to complete – any longer and you’ll start taking shortcuts.
- Short and concise items A checklist is not a how-to guide. Each item on a checklist should be a short and concise reminder of a routine that you are familiar with (prior training and expertise).
- Field tested and revised Checklists must be practical and based on actual experience. A useful checklist is made up of past failures and lessons learned. For checklists to remain useful you need to continually update the items with the latest discoveries and lessons learned which you could also share with your co-workers.
For checklists to be effective you need to read, verify and physically check-off or click each item on a checklist. It’s the deliberate act of going through each item that makes checklists effective, not the fact that you are familiar with every item on a checklist.