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The Power of Checklists

Cheri headshot

TqZySI love checklists. I just can’t help the feeling of success and completion that I get from the simple act of checking an item on a list. To Do Lists, Grocery Lists, whatever. I remember discussing this feeling long ago with a colleague who felt the same. I can still see her definitively checking off an item on a list in front of her to demonstrate the sheer pleasure.

For the last few years, I’ve wavered between paper and digital checklists. I seem to have been able to transition to a totally online calendar to stay on top of meetings, events and appointments with relative ease, but I can’t help feeling that something is missing in the act of using the mouse (or my finger) to click the checkbox in my Evernote list. We’ll see if it lasts.

I am grateful to Evernote for one thing at least, however, and that is in introducing me to The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (610.289 Gawan.A). (BTW—I recommend downloading and listening to the audiobook through Overdrive). I discovered the book in one of their emailed articles. If you love checklists like I do, Gawande will be preaching to the choir, but nonetheless this is a fascinating read that really demonstrates how effective (and often essential) checklists are in various professions, from aviation to surgery.

And if I may stray off topic somewhat, here’s one more book to check off your list— The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. If you haven’t already seen it, Montgomery County Libraries are hosting their first ever One Book, One County right now featuring this national bestselling book. With dozens of free book discussions and lectures going on throughout the county, there’s plenty of reasons to join the conversation. And if you want to see Brown in person, pick up some tickets for his appearances on Tuesday, April 19 at www.montcolibraries.org. They’re going fast so get yours today!