Make a list

I’m reading the Checklist Manifesto right now, and you might accuse me of confirmation bias, but I’m totally right.

  1. Write a list
  2. with clear deliverables
  3. in the order they need to be done.

Every month I have to send out a newsletter for our organization, and it’s one of those routine things that I know I have to do. About a year ago, I was busy with other emergency tasks, and this one nearly fell off the radar, and I had to rush myself and my colleagues to get it out (nearly) on time. And that was silly, avoidable stress.

Every month I start with the deadline (when to send the newsletter), and work backwards. So simple, and entirely supported by the Checklist Manifesto, which calls checklists “quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals” (page 128).

Now I can spend more of my time with work-related puzzles like how to maximize our use of Google Adwords (AND explain it to my colleagues).

Monthly Newsletter list


Reflecting on 2016

As an organization (and myself specifically), we hit the ground sprinting in 2016 and didn’t really come up for breath.

March/April: we delivered our annual focus on research, but added webstreaming. This was a Board suggestion; I was wary, as we had tried it several years ago, and it was a slog, and without positive outcome. This time it went much more smoothly; people logged in and participated independently, and had opportunity to pose questions which I read out to the presenter. Financially we didn’t do so well; we did not have enough paid participants to cover the cost, but that was not expected for the first year.

May/June: After that event, we turned to planning a large fundraising event, also based on a Board suggestion. As it was our first time doing a major fundraiser, we were developing processes as we went, and it consumed the office. It took well over 50% of my time for about three months and probably more for the event planner! I wrote press releases, supervised the development of a website and coordinated donor recognition.

July/August: Wrote and delivered a survey to 10,000 people. Collected, analyzed and reported on results. Whiplash, it went so fast. It was an important reminder that for all the audience statistics we can collect from Google Analytics (what people do), we get valuable information from the survey (what they value and want).

September: And the reason we did a survey in the summer? To use in our reply to an RFP.  The contract with a government department was up, and so that required analysis of what we do, and what more we could do; what directions we’d like to go. A challenging time, requiring coordination, attention to details and lots of reflection and writing.