#324 Masterpiece Day Checklist

How to Reduce Masterpiece Day Mortality Rates by 47%

In our last +1 we talked about the three reasons why we err: necessary fallibility (we’re not omniscient and some things are outside of our human capacity; therefore, we err), ignorance (we may not know what to do; therefore, we err), and ineptitude (we know what to do but we don’t do it; therefore we err).

All of that’s nice but HOW do we Optimize the ineptitude side of things — getting ourselves to DO that which we know is best for us?

Enter: Checklists.

And, re-enter: Atul Gawande and his book The Checklist Manifesto.

Again, Atul is a world-class surgeon and public health researcher. In his great book, he walks us through the astonishing power of astonishingly simple checklists.

I actually got this book after reading Teresa Amabile’s Progress Principle in which she raved about it. Teresa is the head of research at Harvard Business School. She says: “The results are astonishing. In a three-month experiment in eight different hospitals around the world, the rate of serious complications for surgical patients fell by 36 percent after introduction of the checklist, and deaths fell by 47 percent. Even Gawande himself, a highly trained surgeon with years of operating experience, found that his own performance improved notably after he started using the checklist. His point is that surgery, like any complex task, requires a regular check of all the fundamentals—to liberate the team to focus on the work and any unexpected circumstances that may arise.”

That surgical checklist was crazy simple. So simple that many surgeons (who have trained for decades to do what they do) thought it was laughably useless. It included very basic things like each member of the surgical team introducing themselves and confirming which side of the body the surgery would be performed on.

But the results from that super simple checklist were astonishing. Mortality fell by 47%.



You can (and should!) use checklists for any complex thing you do that you want to make sure you consistently do well.

Here’s the short story on a good checklist: It’s short. Precise. And, most importantly, SUPER PRACTICAL.

For our Optimizing purposes, we want to make sure we have a simple little checklist to reduce the fatality rate of our Masterpiece Days.


What’s on your list?

Let’s create a super simple v1 Masterpiece Day Checklist. Short. Precise. Practical. What THREE things do you do when you have your best days?

Think about that for a moment. What are they?

1. ______________________________
2. ______________________________
3. ______________________________

(Mine? Digital sunset. AM1 Deep Work. And my 1 + 10 + 100 + 1,000 + 10,000 + 25 sequence.)

Figure out the few super-basic things you do to help you have great days. Then do them. And watch your Masterpiece Day mortality rates drop by AT LEAST 47%!!

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