One of the last books I read before starting to work full time was Atule Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto, on the recommendation of my friend Joe Dillon. It was really good and I’ll pass the recommendation on to you. He argues that across many disciplines we no longer live in a very very complicated world; we live in a truly complex world. Part of what that means is that our brains, our intuitions, are no longer up to the task of flying modern airliners, constructing modern buildings, or performing modern surgery. To do these things well, we need well-constructed checklists to keep from killing people.

One particularly frustrating, inefficient day in grad school, I realized that my brain/intuition wasn’t up to the task of leaving the house with everything I needed for the day. I put some serious thought into a checklist, wrote the list on a note card and taped it to the inside my front door, at eye level:




It was very helpful. I started singing it after a week and have ever since, eventually abandoning the note. I sing it before I go anywhere and check my pockets for each item as I do. It sounds like this:

"Keys Money Phone"(Tempo varies with mood, but usually 120+ bpm)