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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The List: My August to-do list

by Lili Mounce

Are you a list maker? Do you find you get more accomplished if you make lists? Or is list making just another mode of procrastination for you?

I do make lists. But for the most part, I keep them simple, short and easy to accomplish. On the list, I put things that must get done, or else things will not run smoothly, a few things that would be really nice to get done, and will improve our family home life, and one or two things that are reach items on my list, those things that, wow, would be awesome if I get to them, but life won't fall apart if I don't.

Off in the left-hand sidebar is my August to-do list. These are those things I want to get taken care of this month. Some of them are just business, like making an appointment to have the furnace cleaned. Some are shopping (which can be fun), like stopping in at a bakery thrift for bread later in the month. Some are cooking and some are projects. I like both. And one or two are just plain work, like getting the firewood stacked and cleaning out the pantry. Those will be satisfying to take care of, but will be work.

I'll tackle each item as the time seems appropriate. Washing quilts to hang outdoors and paint outdoor furniture will be best suited for early in the month, while it's still warm and sunny. Some items will be done towards the end of the month, as the new school year gets closer.

I've posted my list as a way to keep myself on track. And if anything on the list sparks an idea in you, that would be great, too. Now, to pose the question again, are you a list-maker?


  1. I am definitely a list maker! I make a list for everything. I make a list of errands I have to run when I go to town. Combining errands on one trip is one way I save on gas, and I tend to forget things if I don't write them down, so I make a list. In fact, I usually have two columns on my list when I go to town. One the left is the grocery list and in the second column is my list of errands.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I make errand lists, too. I put a number next to each stop, so I won't accidentally pass up a stop and have to backtrack. And, as I'm sure you do this too (I think it's in the Frugal Handbook), I make my lists on used envelopes. they're the perfect size -- long and columnar, the back side is clean and has no printing on it, and I can tuck coupons inside the envelope so they don't get lost (plus they're free).

      Thanks for visiting! And happy first day of August! (I love the first day of the month.)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Carol,
      I suspect that a lot of us frugal-types are list makers.

      My thoughts -- being frugal means that we are choosing to control our financial destiny. A tool in that control is organization. We don't haphazardly run errands, grocery shop, clean our homes, but we have some sort of plan. And we tend to plan on paper. Hence the list making.

      For me, writing it down makes it more of an imperative and less of just a wish.

      Happy first day of August! Thank you for commenting!

  3. Yep, I'm a list maker too -- for both work and for home. Each day I write up a list of "must do's" and then prioritize them, grab a cup of tea and start tackling #1, etc.

    I also consider time factors when prioritizing, whether that's deadlines or baking time.

    And like most of your readers, there's also the "wanna do" list and the "while in town on errands" list. They keep us sane, I think.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Prioritizing is really good. (An area I need improvement). For my monthly lists, I've only loosely prioritized items.

      In the last couple of months, though, I begun adding these items to specific dates on my calendar. And that seems to be helping me to get things done. It's nice to have a plan and know what I'm doing from day to day. I can plan my energy levels accordingly, too. If I know I'll have a big project to tackle next day, I'll make sure I don't stay up half the night reading a novel (I get caught up in Agatha Christie mysteries).

      You know, these comment sections really help me to sort through why I do things/what I should be doing/how I can achieve what I want. I really appreciate all the comments.

      Jayne, thanks for dropping in and leaving your thoughts! And happy first day!

  4. You know I love lists! My lists are therapeutic - when everything gets a bit overwhelming, a good brain dump onto paper makes everything seem a bit more manageable even if I know I probably won't get round to everything on the list!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I love that phrase "a good brain dump"! I totally get that.

      Things can tend to swirl around in my mind. Then when I write it all down, it no longer seems so overwhelming. And then once it's down on paper, I can kind of pick through everything and decide if it's really what I want or need to do, and I can start to get my head in gear to tackle it all.

      And here's something really old-school about me -- I prefer lists to be on paper. I know there are all these gadgets which will help me get and stay organized, but a good old piece of paper is what I like. I can refer to it easily. I don't have to turn it on, to check it. And when I finish something really challenging, there's something really satisfying about scratching it off my list!

      Have a happy first day, and thanks for your insights!

    2. Oh yes I'm a 'paper' girl through and through! Otherwise 'turn on computer/organiser gadget and check list' would be another thing on the list!

    3. There is something to be said for a list on paper!

  5. Hi, Lili!
    Funny you should mention list making. Today's comics made us giggle over our coffee this morning.

    Hagar the Horrible told his wife that his memory was so bad he has started to make lists of all the things he had to do. She asked him if he FINISHED the list...yes. But he forgot where he put it.

    The point is--just call me Hagar! grin/giggle

    I do have a Project List for things like painting the benches made by The Normanator's father decades ago, repainting the little Boston rocker and such like. It is tucked into my "calendar book" which lists the days/dates of each month with specific appointments, activities and birthdays to be remembered.

    Fortunately, I DO know where it is!

    I'm so happy I subscribed to your blog. That way I don't miss a single thing.

    Now, I am off to Book Lovers Club! Roll call this month, according to my list, is to bring a baby picture of yourself.

    Mother Connie

    1. Hi Connie!
      Too funny, the comics! I started my list making when my memory seemed to not be as sharp as it should be. It was the only way I could keep track of what needed doing. And, yes, like Hagar, I would misplace my little notebook constantly. Now I use a much bigger notebook (not only my memory not so good, but eyes not so good either), so I can spot it more easily.

      And I'm glad to have you as a subscriber! And have fun at Book Lovers -- baby pictures, hmmm? Care to share on your site?

      Have a great day! And thanks for stopping in!

  6. I am definitely a list person. I leave it on the kitchen worktop and take great satisfaction in striking things off it. I have paper & pen in the bedroom too because I often remember things that must be done as I am dropping off to sleep - then I annoy my husband by turning on the light to write on the list.

    1. Hi Sally.
      Another list maker among us!

      Yes, I know what you mean about taking pleasure in striking the to-do's off the list. When the to-do's become that's dones, it's cause for small celebration.

      I'm sure that keeping track of all that needs doing is just one of the many things your husband loves about you, and overlooks being awakened when you need to write something down.

      I have, on occasion, needed to write something down, just as I was falling asleep. Even more annoying, to me at least, is when I have to get up and go to the kitchen to write something down to remember to take care of, first thing the next day.

      Thanks for dropping in! And happy first day of the new month!

  7. In all my life in school... lists have driven me crazy! I have always made impossible lists with things like "learn all of law" or something silly like that. I mostly gave up on them. My husband introduced me to fun lists, like books I want to read and movies to see. We have a couple life lists together. Still haven't gone bowling yet, but it's on there! Those are more fun. :)

    1. Hi Mallory,
      I like your new kind of lists! Fun lists! I can imagine a list that says "learn all of law" would be extremely daunting.

      I would like to actually write down all the places I'd like to see some day. And making a list of books or movies would be great for winter for me.

      This is a great idea -- fun lists. Thanks for sharing!

  8. "Or is list making just another mode of procrastination for you?" Hmm...sounds like you caught me. I make list after list- usually starting a fresh list when there are just 2-3 undesirable tasks on my list. They continue to be shuffled through various pieces of paper and lists until I either bury them or suck it up and complete them. My summer bucket list has been a fun way to look at lists, but I'm about to draft my personal to-do list (which I feel is important to keep physically separate from my work projects to-do list) and should probably divide it up the way you mentioned.

    1. Hi Alicia,
      Oh yeah, don't I know those tasks that just keep getting carried forward, and carried forward.

      Painting the garden bench is one of those for me this summer. I keep putting it off and off. I had some very good advice from a friend recently, on getting it done. She advised that I dangle a reward before myself with this task. So, that's the plan. Hold out some great reward for doing this (I'm thinking a quick trip to See's Candies after it's done).

      Good luck drafting your to-do list. Don't forget to add a few fun, but necessary, items.

      Thanks for visiting!

  9. I think you gave a good formula for making a list that's not overwhelming. It's easy to put so much on a list that either you just give up or get sidetracked on a less important task. I make lists, but they are often so the whole family is on the same page.

    1. Hi June,
      I try not to put too much on a list, but sometimes I get carried away. But one thing I try for, is to not beat myself up if I don't get everything done. There's often a good reason why I don't get to everything. There are only so many hours in a day. And I don't want to be spending all my time slogging away at completing the jobs on a list.

      You're right about too much on a list being overwhelming, or there are so many choices/items that for me, at least, I'll want to choose only the "good" jobs. And in most cases I didn't need a list to tell me to bake cookies!

      Thanks for your input!


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