Opinion Piece: The List Guy (Street Commodores Editorial Columns)

01 Aug

This is the tenth in a regular series of editorial pieces we’ll be posting here on the blog, originally written by Hosking Industries’ Ben Hosking for Street Commodores magazine and other magazines he’s completed opinion pieces for. This column appeared in issue 176 of Street Commodores:

The List Guy (Written August 20, 2010)

I’d be nowhere without those wonderful little things.

I love lists. I create lists for almost every aspect of my life: from the weekly shopping to my long term life goals. They end up scattered around my office, littered through my hard drives in various folders and stuck up on walls in front of me so I can remember all the stuff that needs to be done.

Then there’s my date book. If I didn’t religiously keep a date book I don’t think I’d ever get anything done. At the very least there’d be far too much that would get forgotten; like birthdays, anniversaries, meetings, deadlines and car shows…

Ask most people I’ve ever spent any real amount of time with and they’ll confirm my love of lists. I’m always trying to convert people to the power of lists. Liam and the Street Commodores team were all made to use lists for their day to day tasks when I was boss and if I ever meet anyone with organisational problems they’re the first thing I suggest.

I’ve literally got lists for just about everything. Apart from the day to day planners that also include the household chores and my exercise regimen, I also have my extensive contact lists, business prospect lists, upcoming shows list, New Year’s resolutions, business goals for myself, new business ideas lists, lists of story ideas, lists cataloguing my CDs and books… you get the idea.

I’ve got lists set up as Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, pieces of paper in my in-tray, in my date book and on the fridge. So long as they’re within easy reach, I’m happy. Even the idea for this very editorial column came from one of my lists!

I honestly don’t think it could be possible to get the amount of work done and goals completed that we do here at Street Commodores without lists and I envy anyone who can. I like to think I have a pretty good memory, but for anyone endeavouring to achieve anything more than the ordinary, that can mean keeping a huge amount of information right in front of your mind at all times so nothing is forgotten.

It’s just the same with building a car. You could consider a list to be a simplified version of a plan of attack and that’s exactly what every car project needs – a bullet-proof plan of attack.

I’d start with a ‘macro’ list of objectives for the car including overview-style things that you want to tackle like paint/body, wheels, trim, bodykit (if any), stereo (if any), brakes, suspension, boot, engine bay and engine. This way you can see the big items that await your attention and you can tick them off as you achieve each one.

From there you dig down deeper into the build plan, making lists for each of those large items in the first list. For the paint and body, you might list the colour preference and brand, chosen painter and any damage or rust areas that need fixing so none are forgotten. For the brakes you may keep some notes on upgrade kits you’ve seen advertised and the prices they’re currently going for so you can plan your budget. For stereo, you might list each component in your desired setup with prices alongside so you can not only budget, but also tick each item off as you buy them for the install. This way you won’t have any nasty surprises when the installer calls asking where one of the necessary bits is. This is even more vital for something like an engine build where you have many more parts.

I’ve always found this method to help me visualise the build and the finished product (which helps keep enthusiasm up), plan my budgets and avoid forgetting anyone or any business that helped out along the way. Sure, there are a million ways to create a plan – this is just one.

If you’ve never tried utilising the power of lists, find yourself forever missing meetings or getting in trouble from your partner for missing anniversaries and birthdays; try the power of the list. If you want to achieve big things this year, sit down with a notepad and pen and brainstorm ideas of things you want to do with your life and write them down – then start making notes on how you will make them happen.

Finally, take that notepad and pen and walk out to the shed and stare at your car. Visualise all the hundreds of things you’d love to do to your car and write each one down – from the tiny to the kinds of things you think will only be possible if you win the lotto. You can keep rearranging your lists, their order and sequence until you think you’ve got your plan in order. Then make it happen!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply