FAQ: The difference between Wish Lists and Now Lists

The Now List Department. Diligently working on things you'd like to do before you die.
The Now List Department. Diligently working on things you’d like to do before you die.

Plenty of people have asked me to explain the difference between your Now List and your Wish List and whether it’s ok if something makes both lists.

The short answer is it doesn’t matter. If you want to put something on both lists and that makes sense to you, go right ahead. What goes on which list is far less important than understanding how each list works and why.

Imagine you head up a corporation with two groups of people at your disposal. Over there, in the factory building, you have your Now List Department, whereas over here, on the fourteenth floor of your corporate headquarters you have the Wish List & Goal Division.

The Now List folks will diligently work through anything and everything you give them, albeit at their own methodical pace, trying to get as many things done before – well, before the whistle blows and they rush home to their families.

The Wish List & Goals Department. The seat of ultimate power.

The Wish & Goals operatives, on the other hand, will consider any request you throw at them, but until it’s passed rigorous internal scrutiny to see whether it should be adopted as one of your corporation’s three goals, won’t do very much with it. When it is a goal however, they’ll assign a deadline, introduce rewards and penalties, create a poster campaign, organise affirmation sessions, work overtime, and generally throw every resource they have at it.

So then, let’s take that wish you had earlier to ‘climb Mount Kilimanjaro’. Which group of your people do you want to give that to?