As seen in the Dayton Daily News on April 8, 2017.
I recently had outpatient surgery. Prior to my surgery, a nurse did various tasks, which included taking my blood pressure. As the cuff was tightening on my arm, I wondered if she was using a checklist to remember all the steps necessary for a successful surgery, or was she a seasoned veteran who has been preparing surgery rooms for years.
My mind began playing the ‘What If’ game. “What if she is new and forgets a step?” “What if she is an experienced nurse, but didn’t get enough sleep last night?” “What if she had a big fight with her spouse this morning and her mind is focused elsewhere?”
I’m usually not this paranoid, but their drugs made me a bit loopy. As the surgery began, all I could think about was helping them make a checklists for future procedures.
Even drugged, the mind of an organizer was churning out ideas.
You may have gathered from what I just shared, I rely heavily on checklists. Having my day run smoothly and not forgetting anything is important to me. I rather use my mind for taking action, relaxing or learning something new. I don’t want to rely on my memory to remember things I have already thought through.
I devised two types of checklists. One helps me remember steps, which sometimes need to be done in a particular order. The other helps me remember items I don’t want to forget.
For example, I refer to two different lists when I go on vacation. The first one is for the actions I need to take prior to leaving for vacation. Examples are: stop our mail, call the kennel, fill prescriptions, get a library book and let a neighbor know we’ll be away.
The second list has the items I don’t want to forget to take with me, which includes sunscreen, medications, passport, boarding passes and business cards if I’m traveling for work.
I suggest you create checklists if you find yourself forgetting things, or want to remember action steps that are often repeated.
To create a checklist, design it as you perform the steps. For instance, my client’s employees often forgot to turn on the open sign at his retail shop. Working together, I had them create a list of steps necessary to open and close the shop.
His employees no longer need to remember these steps because they can refer to a checklist to ensure things are done consistently. My client later shared with me that now whenever he stops into the shop, the open sign is always lit, even when newly hired employees open the store.
Start creating your own checklists. When packing for your next vacation, write down the items as you pack them. Take this new checklist with you. When you reach your destination and discover you have forgotten something, add it to the list so the items won’t be left behind next time.
Continue to modify and update your checklists as necessary. Your needs are always evolving so your lists need to adapt too.
Creating checklists will save you time, reduce forgotten items and give your mind the freedom to enjoy the present moment. Stop trying to remember what you don’t want to forget.