Checklist

The surgeon and writer, Atul Gawande, recently did an excellent “Armchair Expert” podcast episode. He discussed, among many interesting topics, the power and results from having a simple checklist prior to operations. One amazing stat: the number of surgery-related deaths was reduced by nearly 50% in hospitals that employed a checklist. 50%! The checklist contains very simple questions and procedures like ensuring all the doctors and nurses thoroughly wash their hands or giving everyone in the O.R. a chance to speak before surgery.

What would happen if we devised and employed a simple checklist for our daily lives? Include items like health, self care, learning, generosity, and time spent on our art/passion project. Look at it every morning before starting out our day. And then again in the evening before bed. Congratulate ourselves on what we accomplished. Assess where we fell short, asking why, and resolving to do better tomorrow.

With this daily checklist, how much unnecessary suffering and anxiety could we eliminate from our lives? How much time could we save? How much energy could we get back?

And with all that savings and increased happiness, what change can we make in the world?

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