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Lobby Articles topic #40

Subject: "Using a Magic List to Consciously Procrastinate" Previous topic | Next topic
DeBorahBeattyTue Jul-08-08 07:18 AM
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"Using a Magic List to Consciously Procrastinate"


I was getting caught up on my Google Reader this Sunday morning and found a slightly older post on the Slow Leadership blog on the plus side of procrastination.

I just wanted to recommend all of you read Carmine Coyote?s blog regularly. I have found such a wealth of brain-sparking articles there.

Anyway - do you all use a Magic List? Do you even know what one is in this framework? Let me share with you how it works.

About 10 years ago, my husband and I created our clothing business, now called The Rainbow Factory. We were a seriously low-tech company surrounded by the explosion in Silicon Valley, California. Surrounding us were booming dot coms throwing money away like there was no tomorrow. These folks would get venture capital then spend it in the first six months on a posh building, the best furniture, flashy brochures and websites and then when it came to running the business, there wasn?t anything left. We were supporting our business on two decidedly non-stellar salaries which ended with the round of layoffs just before 9/11. We decided at that point that we would operate smart and build in a waiting time on the buy decisions for the things we wanted for the company. (We didn?t have much choice, but it worked out to be a golden opportunity for sustainability in the long run.)

We created a list originally just on a clipboard that we could keep checking in with. Eventually we made a formal document, but you can do it however you want to.


1. Decide on a time line for your list. Ours is 6 weeks.
2. Whenever you see something you want to purchase, sign up for, do, create or have, write it down. Number the items in terms of priority. Make sure you also write down the price tag for the entry.
3. Create a framework to acquire the items on your list (budget, credit card, loan, etc).
4. Check on your list every week. (You can do it daily, but weekly works better).
5. When you look at your list, honestly evaluate their status in the top 10 positions. Is your number one wish still a number one or has it slid down to the three spot?
6. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. You can just check in make a mental note and get back to work or you can make comments on your strategy, update benchmarks, and so forth, but definitely track your success on your quest to achieve/acquire the items you?ve listed.

Some interesting things happen as you work through the list. First of all, the urgency of acquisition goes away and you can re-evaluate the item on its own merit. Second, sometimes you find a way to do what an item is designed to do a different way and the item becomes obsolete without your having spent the money you were working so diligently to budget. And, third, situations change so that you just don?t need it any more or decide to move in a different direction.

Give it a try. Making Magic Lists has really saved us a lot of money, time and frustration.

(Posted in my blog previously)

Opportunity's Knocking, Open the Door!

DeBorah Beatty


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