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Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, November 30, 2012

Magnet Checklist Revised

In a previous blog entry, I documented using a Magnet Checklist for my daily maintenance tasks. Previously, I had mounted my magnet checklist to the side of a steel bookcase because that was the only ferromagnetic vertical surface in my bedroom. Unfortunately, I was not using the checklist on a daily basis as intended. I suspect this was partly because I had positioned it around a corner out of sight of the bedroom entrance and partly because I had to lean over the corner of a desk to reach the magnets.

A few months ago I moved my daily maintenance checklist to the inside of my bedroom closet door. Now I can display the checklist or put it away just by opening or closing the door. It is also much more accessible.

The catch was that I had to mount a magnetic surface to the wooden door. To prevent the surface of the door from being marred when I remove the checklist in the future, I used 3M Command strips instead of the adhesive backing that came with the magnetic whiteboard. Command strips are adhesives which separate from the surface cleanly when you stretch them by pulling on a tab.

I could have just marked the lines for the rows on the whiteboard using a dry erase marker but instead I stuck to using painters tape. Previously I have had problems with marker lines smearing when I slid the magnets back and forth between the "To-Do" and the "Done" columns. The tape also makes it easier to reorder the rows.

However, it did take excessively long to position and evenly space out the paint strips. For my new daily diet checklist on the side of my fridge, I just printed out the rows on a piece of paper. This made everything very easy, especially with regard to changing or reordering the rows in that all I have to do now is to edit the document and print another copy.

The other improvement was that I switched from using round disc magnets to push pin magnets are they are easier to manipulate. With push pin magnets, I now lift instead of slide. It is a wee bit quicker and probably reduces wear on the checklist surface.

This is my revised recommendation for building magnet checklists. It seems a bit funny that you might buy a magnetic dry erase whiteboard with no intent to actually write on its surface with a dry erase marker. I am not currently aware of a better magnetic surface to use for this purpose, however.

On a related note, I also have some travel preparation checklists which I maintain in Google Drive as electronic documents. I have discovered that if I just read the checklists online, I will sometimes gloss over an item and only notice that I skipped it later when I open my suitcase in my hotel room and find that I forgot to pack my shaving kit. I think this emphasizes the point the checklists should be checked. Now I print out the document each time I travel and check off, circle, or cross out items with a pen to make sure that nothing is overlooked.