One Tool Saves Time and Lives

And it’s so mundane, you might not bother

ChristineH
4 min readJan 31, 2022

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Note pages pre-formatted for checklists of different lengths. Remnants of a light coffee to the left, dried flowers and a vase to the right. The pen rests, capped, across the top of the pages.
Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash

In late May, 1999, my Arkansas-based client called to postpone our session, scheduled for the following week. It completely threw my metric (billable client-facing days) for the week, and that of a colleague who was scheduled to support the site visit. I fumed and held a grudge right up to the day the site audit would have started. My colleague called me on June 2nd.

“Have you seen the news?”

I hadn’t. I was making busy in my home office and sulking over the situation. We would have arrived in Arkansas from Austin through Dallas the night before and been onsite on this morning.

“Our plane crashed.”

All accidents are preventable

One June 1, 1999 at 11:50PM central time, American Airlines 1420 overran the runway on landing at Little Rock Airport. The plane hit several obstacles on the ground before coming to a stop and catching on fire. The pilot and several passengers were killed.

There were several factors that contributed to the accident — as is often the case when anything goes terribly wrong. Among them, the Before Landing Checklist was not fully executed.

Many applications for one simple tool

There are several types of checklists used in aviation to ensure the safety of crew, passengers, and people on the planet below. They don’t contain suggestions; they aren’t for new pilots only and excused after a minimum number of flights. Had the crew of AA1420 followed the checklist, they’d have been aware of an equipment malfunction and talked to the tower about another solution, away from the shorter runway they’d been directed to.

Checklists provide reminders when our own minds are spread over many concerns. They also provide satisfaction or relief when we mark things off.

Automating mundane tasks such as packing for vacation or business, shopping to restock the pantry, editing blog posts, onboarding a new customer… the uses are as many as task and project types and the people who carry them out.

Another pre-flight checklist

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ChristineH

Jesus, Recovery, Grace. Finding My Manageable through experimenting, upcycling, and course-correcting with the Harada Method.