Monday, January 3, 2011

DAY 508 The Boring But Useful CHECKLIST

Good Afternoon, Journal & Friends,

When I had my first hand surgery back in October of 09, they did something I found amusing... yet I was glad they did it. 

Each person along the chain of events initialed my hand/wrist in ink... right on my skin. Including me, the nurses, and even the surgeon, all prior to the surgery. They were absolutely determined to get it right! Or, in this case left... it was on my left hand. ;-)

They had a checklist, and this was one way to make sure they didn't slice and dice the wrong body part. They didn't leave it to chance, to memory, or even to "procedure". They followed a checklist, and that checklist said that each person had to initial the body part to make sure it was the RIGHT body part.

Well... recently I read about a book written by Dr Atul Awande, titled "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right." It was fascinating! And had a lot of the truths I could apply to my own journey.

Here are some excerpts, bolded emphasis mine, that I found interesting. It's long, but worth it:

"Despite showing (hospital) staff members of the benefits of using the checklist, 20% resisted stating that it was not easy to use, it took too long and felt it had not improved the safety of care. Yet, when asked an additional question - would you want the checklist to be used if you were having an operation - a full 93% said yes." 

"In a world in which success now requires large enterprises, teams of clinicians, high-risk technologies, and knowledge that outstrips any one person's abilities, individual autonomy hardly seems the ideal we should aim for. ..what is needed, however is discipline...

Discipline is hard - harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconstant creatures. We can't even keep from snacking between meals. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at." 

"We don't study routine failures...when we look closely, we recognize the same balls being dropped over and over, even by those of great ability and determination. We know the patterns. We see the costs. It's time to try something else. Try a checklist." 

"We're obsessed in medicine with having great components, the best drugs, the best devices, the best specialists - but pay little attention to how to make them fit together well"" 

"It somehow feels beneath us to use a checklist, an embarrassment. It runs counter to deeply held beliefs about how the truly great among us - those we aspire to be - handle situations of high stakes and complexity. The truly great are daring. They improvise. They do not have protocols and checklists. Maybe our idea of heroism needs updating." 

So, being one always on the lookout for useful tools along this journey, I made myself a Checklist template with the stuff I'm working on each day. Like I mentioned before, I don't expect perfection each day. But I know me: if I have it written down, easily accessible, and can check it off as I go, I will accomplish MORE than if I were to try to remember it all hit and miss. (can click pics to enlarge)

I have the big size I want to keep, one for each month, in a notebook. But I also printed out a small "working" copy to stick in a pocket, or doodle on, throughout the day. Just to make it practical and doable. 

And there is something in me that enjoys checking stuff off a list! So there is that fun factor, that sense of accomplishment. 

At the end of 2011, I expect to look back and say "Wow! What a great idea that was... look at all I have accomplished. All these small daily goals added up to big changes at the end of the year!"

Try it, you might like it.

From Dr Phil's book: "It's about changing yourself from the inside out."

My verse for today: "Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant."

My quote for today: "If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good." --Dr Seuss

Enjoy the Journey,



Anonymous said...

i keep a list on my computer of things that have to get done TODAY and another of things that just eventually need to get done. Sometimes things jump between lists. If I go a day without checking, I miss somehting crucial. Have always been a list keeper for things like that, but never for my weight loss stuff. Maybe I need a new list.

Anonymous said...

What a great thing, Loretta! I'm all for keeping lists, but I've never considered a list that had something to do with my weight loss. Thank you for the idea! :)

spunkysuzi said...

I am such a list maker!! Definitely keeps me on the straight path :)

Anonymous said...

I used a Doctor Seuss quote on my blog today. GMTA. Great post gain, Loretta. I always love reading your posts. Funny thing about the check list, 20% resisted using it (and I think that may be more because some people secretly wouldn't admit it) but 93% said that they would want it used on them. What does that tell you. Checklists, goals, whatever you use, just make them SMART. That was my post today - My Smart Goals. Check them out.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is one bodacious list!

I did a similar thing--tho on a much smaller scale. I have a list of plan elements at the top of my food journal (on my sidebar) and I have particular things listed on SparkPeople to track.

It helps. And I love the notebook thing. I'm oddly fond of notebooks.


Patrick said...

I say if you are going to make a list, make a LIST!

Impressive, happy new year!

M Pax said...

I started writing mini goals on my week at a glance calendar. I even schedule things on certain days. I only did 1/2 the things I was supposed to today. But it's still there in writing, so I'll get to it tomorrow.

Christina said...

That's really cool that your hospital uses a checklist! How neat that everyone initials the body part! I love lists, but I've never thought about making a template like yours. I'm learning how to use Excel (my program requires everyone to take a Harvard course on Excel, and I'm so thankful because I suck at using the computer), so I might have to make my own! Those little kitty faces are precious. :)

Diana said...

This is totally me:

"We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at."

This messes me up every time. In work and in my weight loss efforts. I use checklists at work, perhaps it's time to use one for weight loss.

Thanks for the great post!

PeacefulBird said...

EXCELLENT suggestion!!!! Totally cool how you've adapted the checklist for your own use. I'm gonna try it too!

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