What Are You Forgetting?

Today’s post is a reminder that checklists are a great tool for completing your work. I’ve had more than one occasion where a forgotten task was remembered as soon as I hit “Send” on an email. Don’t let this happen to you!

The Standard Menu

With my editing work, I’ve learned to check a few boxes on my mental checklist whenever I go over my deliverables, mostly based on the errors I see most often:

  • Apply the appropriate formatting to headings, body text, and other parts of the document.
  • Replace double with single spacing.
  • Check that acronyms are defined the first time they are used and updating the acronym list (if present).
  • Check spelling.
  • Eliminate or reduce passive voice.
  • Move subjects, objects, and verbs closer together.

The Product-Specific Menu

Sometimes there are editing items that are specific to a particular document. Authors/customers will ask me to:

  • Ensure content consistency.
  • Make certain that the flow/story makes sense.
  • Ensure that proper company nomenclature is being used or updated.
  • Fill in the blanks where content is missing.
  • Verify that cross-referenced items (e.g., figure, page, or section numbers) are correct.

Should You Create an Actual Checklist?

I’ve been debating the use of an actual checklist rather than trust my sketchy memory. Nothing’s worse sometimes than remembering what I forgot to do right after I hit “Send.”  Don’t let that happen to you!

About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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