It sounds old fashioned, even quaint, the Checklist or To-Do List. As a personal time management tool, it is often equated with the idea of tying a string around your finger. I disagree; do not underestimate the power of the checklist.
Many years ago, as a programmer, I worked in a shop that had a complicated procedure to copy program code from the developer’s desktop to the first-tier testing environment. It was a common for somebody to miss a step and create havoc for all of the programmers and testing staff. At about the same time, watching a documentary about the Apollo Space missions, I learned that NASA uses checklists “for everything”. I created a checklist for that complicated procedure, and never made a mistake with it again. Another developer on the team saw me using my checklist, and snickered in a friendly way, poking fun at my “crutch”. Later that day he had some code to copy, made a mistake, and came back asking for a copy of that checklist.
Years later, learning to be a private pilot, I learned that pilots, both private and commercial, have many checklists. Unlike a car, you cannot pull the plane over to the side and take care of something you forgot. Pilots rely heavily on checklists for everything from safety checks before take-off to the landing procedure.
These days, like everybody else, I have a sophisticated computer dedicated to time management and communication in my pocket, my smartphone. I keep a both long and short term checklists of “TO DO” items. Imagine going into the weekend with that list of things you need to get done, and knowing that you won’t forget any of them. You might not get to everything, but any item you skip will be one you decided to skip, not something you forgot.
In IT, there are procedures that must be followed when a server goes down. Even if the backup server takes over automatically, there are checks to perform to ensure that the backup is working properly and people to notify about the problem. That list of “must do immediately” items should be available where all of the necessary staff can access it. By the way, storing it on the server is really not a good idea.
In any office environment, who do you call if the VOIP phones are out? Who do you notify if the office needs to close unexpectedly? Something as simple as a checklist can make the difference between a moment of crisis and a difficult situation that you are well prepared for.
Now I need to open my checklist app and tick off “Create Post About Checklists”.