Common Mistakes Checklist

Check reaction by tlc to see if it is complete before quench/work up.
TLC – put co-spot.
TLC against all references available – all starting materials and all products (if available i.e made before or by another route).

Get NMR of crude product and check spectrum thoroughly
Get NMR of purified product and check thoroughly

Never assume any reaction will work – and put all material
Always check & re-check reagents and products are correct before using (i.e not similar named product/isomer/similar shape colour bottle picked up by mistake).

Plan time correctly – carry out longer  reactions/jobs first before shorter ones
Plan time correctly – take advantage of lunchtime/overnight to run reactions/spectra

Don´t use anhydrous solvents for reactions with water in them (except in the rare cases where quality solvent is required with minimal impurities)
Re-read experimental again before carrying out
Always calculate crude yield and purified yield of the reaction and write down immediately in lab book

Don´t throw any product of a reaction away – keep in a vial just in case
Don´t use the more expensive/difficult to synthesize reagent/product in excess

File all spectra immediately in order.
Don´t leave samples in NMR tubes (and use them as sample vials/tlc refs) – recover the product immediately – put back with original sample or transfer to a vial as a reference sample

Always write details of column chromatography purification in the lab note book immediately after carrying out the column.
Always save a sample of crude reaction mixture to co-spot against fractions of the column chromatography
Always save a sample of every new product – do not use all in next reaction

Don´t carry out reaction in closed systems – make sure there is always an outlet – especially when heating the reaction mixture
Never force blocked syringes (the needle might seperate from the syringe and spray flammable liquid everywhere – all over someone/or start a fire/or coat fume cupboard in toxic material.
Make sure quick-fit joints are properly joined (twisted together) – especially when carrying out a reflux overnight to prevent slow escape of solvent and the reaction drying-out.