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Using Checklists to Increase Productiviity and Consistency in Publication Tasks - Spectrum 2018

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Anyone writing, editing, or managing any type of communications for a living is feeling the crunch. There is less time to create and edit; more types and formats of content; more apps, software, and systems to learn. And we expect quality, accuracy, and consistency from ourselves because we take pride in our work. This session discussed how to address a multitude of modern dilemmas with a relatively old-school hack: a checklist.

This session was about how using a comprehensive checklist created and updated for a specific communication task can help you differentiate workflows, systems, and activities; spell out style and formatting details, track your progress, document metrics, and give you a sense of completion and peace of mind.

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Using Checklists to Increase Productiviity and Consistency in Publication Tasks - Spectrum 2018

  1. 1. Using Checklists to Increase Productivity and Consistency in Publication Tasks Kelly Schrank @headbookworm headbookworm@gmail.com
  2. 2. #stc_spectrum Agenda  Introduction  Types of Tasks  Elements of a Good Checklist  Benefits of a Good Checklist  How Do You Know You Have Good Checklists?  Questions? Testimonies?
  3. 3. #stc_spectrum Introduction • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande • Popular tool in workplaces  Surgery checklists save lives  Aviation checklists are essential components in cockpits  Construction checklists keep large scale projects on time and safe
  4. 4. #stc_spectrum Introduction • The Checklist Specialist • Advocate for a special kind of checklist  Create them for your use  Test and rework to get it right, then update and change as needed  Create them for editing tasks, writing projects, social media work
  5. 5. #stc_spectrum What Types of Tasks Need Checklists?  Multiple repeated tasks  Processes with lots of details  Processes with a lot of steps  Tasks within systems that change frequently  Docs with styles that change frequently  Similar tasks that have small details that are different  Tasks where you want to track metrics
  6. 6. #stc_spectrum Elements of a Good Checklist  Be Specific  Don’t just say, “Check headings” on an editing checklist  Say,
  7. 7. #stc_spectrum Elements of a Good Checklist  Spell it out  Don’t just say, “Post event to Twitter” on a social media checklist  Say, • “Write a 280-word post with details of the event that includes the following: • Date • Time • Speaker • Topic • Location • Address • Ticket prices • Day ticket sales close
  8. 8. #stc_spectrum Elements of a Good Checklist  Provide every action step-by-step  Don’t brainstorm what needs to be done on a sheet of paper and call that a checklist  List what needs to be done in the optimal order for it to be done efficiently and correctly  Test, revise, test
  9. 9. #stc_spectrum Elements of a Good Checklist  Add tracking items  Start and stop times  Due date  Level of difficulty
  10. 10. #stc_spectrum Benefits of a Good Checklist  Using Checklists to Increase Productivity and Consistency in Publication Tasks
  11. 11. #stc_spectrum How Do You Know you Have Good Checklists?  When you have piece of mind when working on something  When you start a new type of project and you feel lost without a checklist  When you are confident you have completed a project because you have checked everything off on your checklist
  12. 12. #stc_spectrum How Do You Know You Have Good Checklists?  When you find an error your editing checklist told you to look for  When you almost forgot to post to that third social media site until the checklist told you to post to it  When you are asked for metrics for how to do a future project and you can confidently give an estimate because you have the data in your checklists
  13. 13. #stc_spectrum Questions? Testimonies?
  14. 14. #stc_spectrum Resources Gawande, Atul. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2010. Rizzo, Paula. Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. New York: Start Midnight, LLC. 2014. Schrank, Kelly. “Using Editing Checklists for More Efficient Editing.” AMWA Journal, 2013:164-166.
  15. 15. #stc_spectrum Kelly Schrank Contract Technical Writer and Medical Editor @headbookworm headbookworm@gmail.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyschrank/ https://headbookworm.com/ Thank You for Attending! For a deeper dive, attend my STC webinar on May 9: Using Checklists to Increase Consistency and Productivity in Communications Tasks

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