Hickey: Be Thankful - Check

November 24, 2010

IBA-Hickey-ChristineI am the queen of check lists. I live by them. Not the “on-the-back-of-your-hand” type lists, but honest to goodness checklists. There is something about checking an item off of a list that is liberating, a feeling of accomplishment. I use check lists in the office for everything from service instructions to envelopes and postage. I am a firm believer that checklists improve efficiency and increase accuracy.

A recent news story highlighted the benefits of using checklists. A study released this month reported that the use of checklists in the medical field drastically reduced complications, errors and the risk of death following surgery. Note to self: remove the sponge. Check.

During a recent interview about the benefits of medical checklists, the Sully Sullenberger crash landing on the Hudson River was used as an example of checklists gone right. While Captain Sullenberger took control of the aircraft, the co-pilot was taking a crash course in the emergency procedures checklist. Instructions to passengers to brace for impact: Check.

Believe it or not, there are websites for every kind of checklist imaginable. There are websites to find checklists, create checklists, and checklists to remember what to check off. With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, below is a checklist that may prove helpful, regardless of whether you are the host, the hosted, or the exhausted:

• Hosting Thanksgiving, oh my gosh did I order the turkey??

• Accept the offer of a green jello mold from distant cousin or aunt; it will make them feel good to help

• Check out safety tips for deep-frying the turkey (Thanksgiving is America’s peak day for home-cooking fires)

• Fire extinguisher handy?

• Does it work?

• Take photos or video (no embarrassing funniest home videos)

• Offer to be the videographer so you are not in the funniest home videos

• Encourage guests to get some exercise after the mealSuggestions include going for a walk, playing flag football or catch.Alternative suggestion: the clicker

• Organize group activitiesSuggestions include storytelling, games, watching family videos, puzzlesAlternative suggestion: cleaning up dishes

• My favorite: mom is cooking, Pepto Bismol?

If you are a guest for Thanksgiving, there is a checklist for that too:

• Contact host to determine if you can help with anything

• Take a gift for the host(s) (we host, I like this one)

• Don’t arrive early, don’t arrive late or you are the one they’ll be talking about

• After arriving, offer to help the host(s) (I like this one, too)

• Be aware that excessive consumption of foods like organ meats, shellfish, beef, beer and turkey with gravy might trigger a painful attack of gout, especially in men over 40 and women after menopause – other risky foods may include anchovies, herring, sardines, mushrooms, asparagus, peas, beans, mussels, kidney, liver, heart, brain, sweetbreads, broths, consomme (this is ver batim from a checklist)

• Take leftovers

• Don’t leave leftovers in the car

• Last, but certainly not least, enjoy time with family and friends. Be thankful. Check


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