PRAXIS: List-building

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PRAXIS: List-building

I recently heard of a daily routine that someone goes through each and every day.

I love hearing about other people’s praxis since I believe they can be fuel for creativity and keep the mind bright and alive.  I have a couple of my own that I’ve shared before.


So this is what he does EVERYDAY:

Write a list of 10 things.

NOT a to-do list.

NOT an organization list.

NOT a recipe.

NOT a shopping list.


He sits down, things of something in his life, or something that his mind is triggered to think of. . . And then writes down 10 things about it.

Many times it is constructive thoughts about some business or related to someone he knows.   Sometimes it is observations about a place, person or current situation.

It is the practice of observation, triggering thoughtfulness, reflection, and articulation.

After trying it out, I think it actually is a great way to exercise those brain muscles.  Much like how professional writers say that you can’t just write when inspiration strikes, you have show up to work and write.  No matter what.  Everyday.  Clock in.  Write.  Clock out.  Repeat.  There’s something to the facility of writing if you bring discipline to it.

What I found interesting is that he shared that list with the other person it involved sometimes.  And more interestingly, many times it was pure strangers he’d find the contact info for and reach out.

I thought about how I would receive it if a stranger send me an email one day saying today he sat down and pondered about my . . . clothing choices, or a specific PR campaign I executed recently, or . . . anything.  At first it gave me pause.  I mean, that’s kind of strange, in a way, no?

But upon more reflection, it seemed to be an interesting praxis.  And from what he said, he made some very good connections through that practice of reaching out and share.   In a way, it makes sense, right?  If someone shares some life-serving constructive thoughts with no strings attached, it can be received as a gift.

OK, so I thought I’d share my list from today:

I’m sitting in Starbucks right now at 11:30am, and it is quite fascinating just how many people don’t have a job or place to be throughout the day.  9-5 jobs, school, and other vocations just don’t seem to dominate anymore.  There are so many different types of people who show up in Starbucks every time I come here.

So here’s a quick observation of:


  1. College / graduate students who are studying and bring their entire dorm and library with them.
  2. Nannies and babysitters trying to kill time and simply taking the child out to keep them moving/occupied till the day is over.
  3. Pharma reps taking a break or meeting up with other reps since they don’t have an office.
  4. Senior citizens who regularly hang out like this is their school cafeteria or the street corner when we were kids.
  5. Unemployed folks writing their cover letters, searching and mostly procrastinating and surfing the web.
  6. Job interviews that are easy to tell by body language who’s excited, who’s a dud and who’s trying hard to dress to impress.
  7. Dates who want a safe place that’s public, low commitment and complete with easy escape routes.
  8. Teens who travel in herds and don’t realize they’re spending mom and dad’s hard earned $5 x 5 days/wk x 50 weeks = $1500 each.
  9. Moms getting together after or before school pick-up.
  10. Bloggers writing blog posts about people around them while blogging so they feel productive.

Don’t like to read? Check this out. 😉

Who did I miss?  Can you help add to my LIST?

Kenny Jahng is a content marketing advisor and communications strategist who helps nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations / churches. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter @kennyjahng

6 thoughts on “PRAXIS: List-building

  1. Interesting praxis. The most common people I see at Starbucks are:

    coworking people (crunching spreadsheets, working on presentation slides, sitting on a conference call)

    in the mornings, people doing their morning routine of newspaper and breakfast coffee

    .. or am I overstating the obvious? 🙂

    The question this prompts for me is: where are the great websites and apps that make this praxis easier to do and easier to share? I’m a lil’ surprised at how list-making is so common but not as many apps & sites as I would think there’d be; cf.

    1. HA! I appreciate this praxis since it makes me slow down and really parse out categories that I thought were the final unit. For example, your “people doing their morning routine” could probably be broken down into more and more smaller units. That is the part that gets me thinking in different ways. HOW do you break it down? Age? Stage? Fashion? Speed? Purpose? Destination? Origination? Activity? Etc.

      As for the list sharing, YES, I agree. Perhaps blogging is one of the most common ways to share these things since you need more than just a single comparible artifact to evaluate, compare, understand. Conversation and words are needed to really flesh out the nuances — and benefits for others.

    1. That’s a great site!

      This made me think that if I continue this, I should figure out how to incorporate a process to convert each list into an infographic.

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