My Streaming Startup Checklist

NOTE: TODO: This page needs updates to work with MDX

TL;DR

Checklists are awesome.

Profoundly simple. Profoundly effective.

There’s generally way more steps than you realize to deal with with any given thing. For example, you’d think stating up a stream would be trivial. Take a look at my stream startup checklist below for an example of how that’s not the case.

Anytime you’ve got a repetitive task with more than a few steps, it’s worth putting one in place.

The Details

It’s easy to think you can remember all the steps for any given process. It’s harder than you think. Ask yourself if you’ve ever goofed? Sure, most of the time you get it right, but the fact that you don’t all the time is the reason to spend some time making a checklist.

There’s a tendency to see using a checklist is a crutch. That it’s something that only folks who aren’t good at their job would use. Computers can do the same thing, exactly, the same way forever. We humans aren’t like that. We get tired, bored, distracted, and sometimes just flat out goof. That’s where checklists come in. To provide a backstop.

This is the checklist I use when I start a stream:

<ul class="checklist">
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Run Keyboard Maestro Stream Prep</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Make sure Github Desktop isn't on work stuff</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Move stuff out of grimoire</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Unlock password manager</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Log out of webmail</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Safari: Zoom to 125%</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;iTerm: Set font to 20</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Pycharm: Set font to 19</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Pycharm: Review open projects</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;nvAlt: Set font to 19</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;DBeaver: Remove work connections</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;AWS: <a href="https://console.aws.amazon.com/console/home?region=us-east-1" target="_blank">Log into Greenfield</a></li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Chrome: Pop out Chat and Followers windows</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Review Apps and close ones that shouldn't be open</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;OBS: Set white ballance</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Set <a href="">Twitch Stream Title</a> [Link removed for this example]</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;<a href="">Open Stream Notes</a> [Link removed for this example]</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Close browser tabs that shouldn't be open</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Turn on lights</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Check camera positions</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Review Open files in Sublime Text 2 and 3</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Make sure Chatbot is running</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Start Binary Clock</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Turn on Fan</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Make a pitstop</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Make sure mic is in front of your face</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Post <a href="https://twitter.com/home">Twitter</a> message with link: https://www.twitch.tv/theidofalan</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Start stream</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Start music</li>
<li><input type="checkbox"> &nbsp;Go...</li>
</ul>

Like this digital garden, it’s a living thing. It’s settled down a lot, but when I first started it I was constantly adding things. Some were obvious, like changing font sizes. Somethings were not. Like, moving the mic in front of my face. That item went on the list because I forgot once. I figured I’d remember it from that point forward but put it on the list anyway. It’s saved me half a dozen times since.

This list also used to be way longer. I’ve migrated a bunch of stuff into that first “Run Keyboard Maestro Stream Prep” step. It’s a checklist of its own, but one that’s handled by the computer (as long as I remember to press the button which I always do because it’s on the list).

Making A List

There’s 7.3 billion apps out there for checklists. I’m not interested in any of them. I built a little web page that I used as my new tab window that contains a bunch of links to various resources. One link is to this checklist which is itself just a local HTML page sitting on my machine. The list is a simple unordered list (&lt;ul&rt;). Easy-peasy.

I love this approach. When I open the page, all the checkboxes are un-ticked. I just go down the list marking things off as I do them then close the page when I’m done. Next time I open it, it’s ready to go again. I don’t need to track anything about usage. So, there’s no need to communicate with a server.

You can actually see how it works directly on this page. Tick away. Refresh if you want to start over. The approach also gets bonus points for the ability to put links in that open windows to other pages I need to update like my Twitch stream title.

Super simple. Very effective. Highly recommended.

Check It Once

So, yeah. I’m a fan of checklists. Sometimes they seem tedious. But, here’s the thing. All the things that are on it are there for a reason and need to be done. It would be just as tedious to do them without the list.

The biggest thing to remember is that they change a lot at the start and can change over time. Don’t worry about getting everything on one initially. You won’t. You figure them out as you go.

Give it a shot and you’ll find you save yourself some grief.

-a


P.S. If I didn’t sell you on the idea, check out The Checklist Manifesto to learn about how doctors and pilots use them too.

P.P.S. One of these days I’m totally gonna update to use labels so I can click on the text instead of just the checkbox.

2021

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