In computing, a parity check is “the process that ensures accurate data transmission between nodes during communication“. In other words, it’s a simple test that will help make sure that the data being sent is the same as the data being received and that nothing was lost along the way. They’re imperfect checks, but they’ll catch (and help to fix) many potential errors.
We need more parity checks in our lives too.
The week ahead…
I’ve talked a good bit in the past about my process of running a “weekly preview” every Friday. It’s where I look at what’s coming up and try to catch any scheduling issues before they become a big problem.
In recent months, though, I’ve added one small thing to it. After I’ve looked at the week I send two simple emails — one to my wife and one to my business partner — with a quick outline of what’s coming up. Here’s an example:
The main benefit of those emails is simply to make sure we’re aligned on everything approaching next week, and 90% of the time all is smooth. However, on a few occasions they’ll write back and point out a conflict that I might have missed, such as “Why is that meeting on Thursday? We have that other thing on Thursday.” Discovering that a week ahead of time is much better than scrambling to solve it on Thursday morning.
A real example from a few weeks ago in my email to Ali I mentioned “I’ll be working from home on Monday since I don’t need to go in” and she quickly reminded me that our meeting with a client on Monday was in person, not on video chat. Had she not told me, I likely would have realized that when the meeting was starting and I was not in the right location. Great catch!
Not too much
With all things, though, there’s a balance to be struck here. I could send them both an email every day to discuss tomorrow, but that would add a whole lot of meta work and likely not be worth the effort.
Similarly, I try to pay attention to how much detail I put in my weekly emails to them. More is better, but only to a point. I try to stick to just a bullet point or two for each day with the highlights, simply to make sure we’re on the same page.
Parity checking won’t catch every error, but if it can fix a few then it’s worth doing.
Leave a Reply