Posts tagged with "essay"

Fifteen Best Practices For Creating Perfect Checklists

Creating a perfect checklist is an art form. It takes time, patience, and practice to get it just right. But with the right tools and techniques, you can create checklists that are accurate, efficient, and helpful. Here are 13 best practices for creating perfect checklists.

1. Keep it simple.

The simpler the design, the easier it is to complete each item on your list. Similarly, if you can reuse or recycle your checklist, that’s even better! Checklists are most effective when items are clearly defined and easy to understand. If you’re having trouble making your list straightforward enough, consider adding images, icons, or symbols to help guide your team.

2. Be clear and precise.

Don’t rely on assumptions when creating your checklist items. It’s better to be overly specific than not specific enough—you can always adjust the item later if it turns out you’re asking too much of the team member. And don’t forget to include an “other” option if your item isn’t listed!

3. Consider the team member’s perspective.

You don’t necessarily need to know what you’re doing before you begin a task or project, but for most people, it helps. Try asking yourself: “What questions do I need to be answered?” and “What information does my team member need from me?” Make sure to include these answers on the checklist so your team member can easily complete the task.

4. Stick to one topic.

When you’re creating a new list, consider what exactly you’d like it to accomplish. Stick with that same topic when adding items, and avoid switching back and forth unless absolutely necessary (i.e., if you’re creating a list that will be used across different projects).

5. Add an “In progress” column.

Once you’ve started your checklist, it’s easy for team members to forget which task they’re working on. Add a new column and mark each item as “In progress” or “Complete.” That way, you can easily tell which tasks are finished and which ones still need attention.

6. Show subtasks in priority order.

If you have several items for your team member to complete, group them in the same list so they’re easier to find—you can also add a number or letter system, if necessary. For example, when creating checklists for sales calls, list subtasks in order of priority so your team member knows at a glance which tasks are the most important.

7. Keep track of tasks.

If you’re using a checklist app, consider using the “Notes” feature to keep track of conversations or other information related to each task. It’s easy for the right information to get buried within your list items, so be sure to separate it into its own note if necessary.

8. Give them feedback.

If you’re using a checklist app, allow for comments on each task (some of our customers find that setting up tasks with checklists is like creating an agenda). This way, your team member can determine if they need more information before completing the task.

9. Encourage your team members to suggest items.

If they’re not sure what you want them to do, ask your team members if they have any pre-work suggestions for completing a task or project. They might think of ways you haven’t considered—and it lets them know you’re open to their ideas!

10. Limit the number of items.

You don’t want your list to be too long, or else team members will get overwhelmed and won’t use it. The best checklists are the ones your team members will actually use—so make sure you review them before sharing with a colleague!

11. Allow for flexibility.

Not every checklist should be a rigid framework. If you want to provide some guidance but also give your team members the freedom to complete tasks as they see fit, include a few blank lines or small boxes where they can add comments.

12. Plan for emergencies.

No matter how thorough your checklist is, something might go wrong. That’s why it’s important to include space for team members to leave notes about unforeseen events. Just make sure you ask them not to write entire paragraphs—you want the checklist template to be easy to reference, if necessary!

13. Plan for contingencies.

Once your checklist is in use, you’ll also find yourself updating it regularly based on lessons learned. Keep some notes about why you added any particular item to your list—that way, you can make sure the same problem doesn’t come up again.

14. Choose a template that works for you.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating your own checklist templates, try using one of our templates instead! We offer templates for all sorts of situations, so you can find one that fits your needs—and if you don’t see exactly what you need, feel free to contact us about customizing a checklist for your team members.

15. Don’t forget the “why” behind the task.

Checklists are most useful when everyone on your team understands why they’re being used in the first place. So, make sure your team members aren’t just looking at the list—you also want them to read over the instructions you’ve written. That way, they’ll know why each item is on the list and be more likely to use it in their day-to-day work.

One great tip when making checklists is to use Venngage — an online checklist maker and free infographic maker that offers many different checklists templates for everyone. From daily checklists to groceries, Venngage has it all. Here are some checklist examples from their website!

While checklists are most frequently used in the business world, they can also be helpful tools for your everyday life. Using a checklist template to organize your thoughts or run through a mental inventory before heading out the door is an easy way to ensure you don’t forget anything important—and that’s just one example.

It’s true that checklists aren’t for everyone—and that’s fine. But if you’re looking to streamline your work or find an easy way to keep track of important tasks, a checklist template from Venngage is definitely worth exploring. To start, click here

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

The Cosby Show And Me

One woman’s journey after she learned The Cosby Show was based on her family in the 1980s.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. | @annmarieadams

What if I told you that The Cosby Show was partly based on me and my family during the 1980s? You would probably not believe it. But it is true.

That’s the conclusion after a seven-year investigation by private investigators and government officials. Providence guided us during this lengthy investigation when I lived in Avon, and political operatives prepared me in 2014 to run for Congress against former Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty–an academic exercise worth noting. It was during this “prep” time that I learned about this connection with The Cosby Show.

This fortuitous story of the connection began when former President Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica on April 7, 1982. During that one-day visit, Reagan’s security detail reportedly made contact with me and my family. My father was an electrical engineer while working at the Government Printing Office. He owned a home in a suburb of Kingston. And my mother worked with a transportation company. If former President Barack Obama did not visit Jamaica on April 9, 2015, while I was covering the White House, I wouldn’t have believed this story. That’s because it was Obama’s first visit as president, and he was only the second sitting president to visit the Caribbean nation since its independence in 1962, according to MSNBC.

Also at play were these facts: In Jamaica, we were a middle-class family Reagan’s cabinet allegedly felt they should watch. After Reagan’s visit, several individuals made plans to put a family sitcom together. And it was called The Cosby Show, according to sources close to the U.S. federal, state, and local governments. The show aired on NBC from April 30, 1984, to September 20, 1992.

The Cosby Show’s character, Denise Huxtable, was based on me, I’m told. The character’s persona and likeness were exploited without our consent.

And the revelation about the origins of the show can also be found in Bill Cosby’s interview about how he came up with this idea.

Cosby first pitched the show about a working-class Honduran family. My father’s ancestors are from Honduras and Nicaragua. We had a wonderful life that included Sunday dinners and picnics in the park, but we weren’t exempt from obstacles. Although The Cosby Show was mainly focused on Cosby’s observations of family life, some of those observations were of my family. Moreover, the basic concept of the middle-class family depicted on the show is evident in my family: My older sibling wanted to be a doctor. Also, I wanted to be a lawyer. Those plans of ours were interrupted by government officials, according to sources close to the investigation.

In previous interviews, Cosby also stated the original conceptualization of the show: a working-class family that raised a successful child. (side note: Cosby’s wife suggested the show be based on a well-to-do family). The original premise and casting choices for the sitcom, however, reaffirmed the initial concept in the pitch that was identical to my family and me.

So I’m telling my story.

Several scenes were points of recognition of my family’s life in Jamaica and the U.S., especially my time at Brooklyn College. I also learned during the investigation that the casting directors and writers had our family in mind when they selected the actors. There are frighteningly similar personas in my family and the characters on the show. And a picture of The Cosby Show family and my family bears a striking resemblance. For example, Denise Huxtable is my doppelganger–and the investigators discovered the character’s traits are similar to mine. Theo is my brother’s doppelganger and a few scenes reflect the relationship with him and my father. Vanessa is my sister Andrea’s doppelganger and several scenes reflect her relationship between us. Rudy’s character is based on my brother. Articles about the casting claimed that the casting directors tried to find a boy at first but they couldn’t; so they used a girl for the role. Rudy is my niece Janel’s doppelganger. And the character Olivia is my other niece Franchista’s doppelganger. The optics resonate well to claim theft of services and copyright infringement.

Other similarities include Sondra, who shares traits with my cousin Carleen. Elvin is based on my brother Lloyd. Also, Aunt Vi is based on my cousin, Doreen, Lt. Martin Kindall, Denise’s husband is based on my cousin, Raymond. And of course, Claire Huxtable was based on my mother and older sister, Marcia. The patriarch of the television family, Cliff Huxtable portrays similar traits as my handsome father. Huxtable is my father’s doppelganger–not twin. Cosby’s conviction as a sex offender was not echoed in my family. In fact, my father has never been arrested for any crimes. This information, I believe, will allow people to differentiate between the actor and the individual the show was based on when talking about the circumstances around this NBC hit comedy in the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition to those facts, several scenes were premised on the interpersonal dynamics of the relationships between me and my sisters, brothers, and cousins. This was too much of a coincidence to those who were investigating us during the recent investigation and prep for Congress. The public must know that The Cosby Show itself is a creation by several actors, comedians, writers, and producers who may be unfamiliar with our family. However, a few undisclosed individuals close to the recent investigation of Bill Cosby and the creation of the show gave me this information. So the very idea that it was based on our family was plausible to investigate further, officials said. I also learned that the 1990s spin-off, A Different World, was based on me and my years at college. And the show, That’s So Raven, was based on my niece, Franchista.

Why we were picked for this social experiment will perhaps remain a secret to Reagan, his staff, and others close to the show. The Caribbean’s strategic location to the Panama Canal gave us a clue as to why our family was at the center of a Cold War project. We requested other documents to uncover this mystery and are still waiting. Also, the United States Secret Service has disallowed open documentation of Reagan’s visit to Jamaica in 1982. But one thing was clear. After this revelation to me, while I was covering the Obama White House, my family and I were the victims of a hate crime and cover-up–because of the revelation of our connection to The Cosby Show.

Cosby and his associates are suspects in this crime, using unorthodox methods by Lansana Koroma of Philadelphia. So I reached out to Andrew Wyatt, his publicist. According to Wyatt, Cosby doesn’t want to talk about this affair right now.

Looking through old photographs, it was clear that the casting director used our family’s faces and likeness as a guide to casting those on the show. They were, indeed, our doppelgangers. The old pictures confirmed that much. After discovering we looked like the actors, who were selected for the pilot season that debut on September 20, 1984, we all were the victims of a hate crime to assault our faces and distort our images on television, print, and with online photos.

This insidious plot to strip us of our individual identities and image as a middle-class and Christian family the show was based on also included an incredible effort to secretly strip us of our financial resources, including houses, cars, and jobs. All this orchestrated crime during the long investigation was to hide our true identities and our impact on the show. Therefore, this sinister approach to the secret investigation must be addressed with force.

Perhaps the Bill Cosby trial in Philadelphia was divine justice when he was indicted on a day close to my father’s birthday. Also, Cosby failed to acknowledge our contributions to the show and as a result, his new family comedy slated for 2015 was canceled. But the United States State Department, state, city officials, and other individuals used to invade our privacy owe us more than an apology.

We are asking for the perpetrators of this crime to be held accountable with prison time–just like Bill Cosby–for the evil and covert attacks on our family to cover up this truth in the country. More importantly, we ask for reparation for our family because of years of disruptions and adverse experiences to discredit our claim to The Cosby Show.

Enough is enough. We want restorative justice–reparations.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and U.S. History Professor. She is also the founder of The Hartford Guardian, the first nonprofit, hyper-local publication in Connecticut. Previously, she was a journalist at The Hartford Courant, People Magazine, NBC 4 New York, the Washington Post, other regional publications, and television newscasts.

AMS Vans/Athlete Award Van

Atlanta-based AMS Vans teamed up with the Aimee Copeland Foundation and FODAC (Friends of Disabled Adults and Children) to present the keys for a wheelchair accessible minivan to the winner of an essay contest. The winner, Kendra Allen, is an Athens Tech college student whose essay detailed the challenges of growing up with cerebral palsy and her dream to help others with disabilities.

Allen’s prize is a 2012 Honda Odyssey wheelchair accessible minivan with $7,500 worth of reconditioning donated by AMS Vans, which will also provide free oil changes and tire rotation for as long as she owns the vehicle.

“I am so thankful for everyone who helped me get this minivan because it means I will finally be able to use my power wheelchair outside my home, making it so much easier to get to class at Athens Tech, see friends and eventually start my own business,” said Allen.

“AMS Vans is thrilled to help Kendra become more independent and we are inspired by her dedication to finish school and fulfill her dreams to create her own company to help others,” said Mark Shaughnessy, CEO of AMS Vans.

The minivan was donated by Aimee Copeland, a competitive swimmer and counselor who lost her hands, right foot and left leg from a flesh-eating bacterial infection in 2012. After receiving the vehicle as gift, she found new independence, started the Aimee Copeland foundation and became the official spokesperson for FODAC.

“This van changed my life and gave me freedom of mobility, and now I am paying it forward so that Kendra may have a better quality of life,” said Copeland. “We could not have done this without AMS Vans and FODAC, and I am grateful for their support.”

“As an advocate for those with disabilities we see first-hand how reliable transportation can change a person’s life by connecting them more readily to work and the community and we are excited to see Kendra succeed,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC.

Allen’s essay was selected from 60-entries submitted to the contest that ran from January 7, 2019 to February 7, 2019. Her essay has been posted in full on the Aimee Copeland Foundation Blog.