DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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11 June 2012

Back to my list

Over the past few weeks, I've moved away from my old habit of writing down what I hope to do during the day. I have been quite busy lately so didn't really notice my change until I could see things not done, or half done. And we've been buying bread at the bakery. I used to have all this down pat - after breakfast I'd put bread on to rise, wash up, clean the kitchen and make the bed and those few tasks would get me in the right mind for doing the rest of my work. Sometimes that was writing most of the day, sometimes it was housework, sewing and mending.  Somehow I moved from breakfast to writing and only remembered to make the bed or wash up when I went to those rooms. I'm not sure if it's because I'm busy or if I'm losing my marbles.

Whatever the reason, I know I need my list.


I know that a list written in the morning is the best way to organise myself. I write it when I know what I feel capable of that day. If I'm feeling energetic, I can add tasks and ideas to my core task group. If I'm not so sprightly, I can just keep the core group, knowing that will keep us going well - we'll be fed and watered and most things will be clean and tidy. When I get back on track again, I can add a chore each day to catch up.


I don't like writing down a week's worth of work. It's too overwhelming. Not writing it down at all, well, then I forget to do it. This morning list does work for me and if you're looking for a good daily guide, this may work for you too.


This shows me just how easy it is to go back to old habits. It's important to stay focused and to monitor what I am doing occasionally. None of us are perfect; it's easy to slip off track, and it's easy to stay off track. I'm pleased to tell you I re-started my list yesterday morning and I got everything done that I needed to get through. I've also started using my computer more for reminders. I already had a "take vitamins" reminder in iCal, now I have a morning tasks reminder too. I'm not going to type the list into the computer because I know I need to think about the list every morning, but a reminder to do the list should be just what I need to get back to this helpful habit.  How do you organise your day to day tasks?


I want to thank those of you who bought my book. It's still on the bestsellers list at Angus and Robinson, Borders and Dymocks, and on the Health and Well Being books bestsellers list at Fishpond. I hoped it would do well but I didn't think it would still be going strong after three months in the shops. My thanks also to those who wrote reviews online for the book. Some have said it's their favourite book and when I read that, well, I was truly humbled.

It's a public holiday here but I have a couple of meetings to attend this morning that I can't do any other time. But when I come home again, Shane, Sarndra and Alex will be here! I am looking forward to watching Alex walk in his new shoes. They'll stay overnight so we'll be able to catch up with their news and spend some time with them. I hope you enjoy your day too and that the week ahead will be a good one for all of us.

60 comments:

  1. Congratulations- it sounds as if the book has been doing really well! (perhaps it'll come over to the UK?) Habits are all too easily broken but sometimes that's good as it can lead to creating new habits...?

    I usually make our bread but ran out & needed some instantly so bought a loaf & was reminded how good oats are in bread. Needless to say the next day I added flaked oats to my own bread & it was extra lovely!

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  2. hi.
    what is best? write down the things you SHOULD do,or write down the things you HAVE done?
    i prefer writing down what i HAVE done.
    tanx for a nice blog!

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  3. Morning Rhonda, no I don't think it's marbles that are the problem just busyness of life and where it has you at the moment. I am a list girl too and each morning after my bible study I make a list for the day. It really does keep me on track. If I do not manage all on my list today I just carry it into tomorrow. I make a much bigger running list during the week for Saturdays which is our "homesteading" day when we work as a family in extra jobs related to our food garden and home. This could be anything from Making soaps to bread from Gardening to sewing seeds. I add to this each day and on Saturday morning my kids and husband always ask to see "The List" At breakfast time....

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  4. Hi rhonda..well i think sometimes you can be allowed to let things slip a little bit. Not to worry i'm sure your not the ony one from time to time.
    I do a list of things i would like to do..or need to do on a daily basis..or evenings..when my little ones have gone to bed, i sit down with a cuppa and do my list..meal plans and budgets...i find it relaxing weird i know..but if i have a plan then i can cope.
    take care
    sara

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  5. What is in the bowl at the last picture? It looks like a tomato jam of some kind... I thought I was the only one that made tomato preserves!

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  6. I've noticed this very thing as well - I'm much more productive when I make a list! Plus, it is so satisfying to cross things off as they get done :) I usually make a list for the week, and then look at it each day to prioritize what needs to be done. I also have a long-term "master" list that is ever-evolving.
    -Jaime

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  7. I am in the same boat. A list person at heart, I haven't been writing one lately because of busyness (a time when I need a list most lol) and stuff isn't getting done that should be.

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to be getting back to my lists too.

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  8. I write lists every morning also -- it's the only way I get anything done I think. Sometimes I get it all done, and sometimes not.
    Just made my first batch of homemade soap this afternoon. Thanks for the encouragement to try something new/old. I live in the US, upper midwest. I bought your book right away and have already read it twice. Love it and thanks for that too, Rhonda.

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  9. I really enjoyed your blog this morning Rhonda as it reminds me that I am not alone and not a failure when I lapse back into old habits ... in fact, your blog this morning has been a real encouragement to me. I am also a 'list' girl and when I do write things down, even though I may not get everything done, I feel some accountability ... and that is a good thing for me.
    As for your book ... congratulations! It certainly is a favourite of mine. I don't usually mark my books, but yours and a couple of my favourite cookbooks, have notes in the margins and highlighted bits all the way through them. They now feel like old friends and not just 'books that I read'.
    I hope you have a wonderful day today and that the time you spend with your family later in the day leaves special memories in your heart.
    God bless,
    Janelle

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  10. Mary Ann, it's chilli jam. I'm addicted to it.

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    1. I guessed it was chilli!

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  11. The warm fireplaceJune 11, 2012 7:00 am

    I do a list for tasks that have to be done in the week in order of priority, as each day is different for me i plan in my head and do get things done. So glad your book is going well, are they likely to sell it in Britain?
    sue

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  12. Thrifty Household and Warm Fireplace, my agent has been trying to get a publisher for the book in the UK, but there's be no real interest yet. I would love to have it published there. I'll let you know if there is any progress.

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  13. I also make a daily to-do list each morning. I grab my calendar so I'm sure to add any appointments on the list as well as errands to run and tasks to complete at home. I also include what we're having for dinner, which prompts me to defrost or prepare ahead anything that needs it. I don't always get everything finished--I'm 5 months pregnant with a 3yo at home, so life sometimes gets crazy or I get more tired than I expected--but for the most part I manage to keep the list reasonable enough that I can finish it.

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  14. ...fingers crossed that you find a publisher inthe UK...keep me posted if you do!

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  15. Since I lost my job last month and am at home every day, I've found a list of jobs each day - just like I did at work - keeps me focussed. Otherwise I find it all too easy to get sidetracked.

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  16. I too need a list Rhonda. It helps to keep me on track during the day.

    Love your photos.

    Enjoy your family time tonight. xxoo

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  17. Hi Rhonda,
    I can imagine you forgot to write the list. It has been so very busy the last couple of weeks. I think everyone would have the same problem.
    The list sounds like a wonderful idea. I have a lot of problems keeping my home in shape. Everything is tidy, but I have to take time to clean. Sometimes things get in the way and then I forget. A list would be great for me too. Thank you very much for the tip. I will try it.
    Have a lot of fun with the kids ; )

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  18. I feel sure that your book would sell very well here in the UK. Looking forward to seeing it in our local bookshop one day!

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  19. I was doing the same as you,and getting overwhelmed by so many things left undone. Today I made a list and got each item crossed off.Hooray!! Now I can do whatever I want!! And that will be to start reading your book!
    I was going to wait and see if it would be sold here in the USA,but I just couldn't wait and ordered it from Fishpond.I am looking forward to a lovely evening reading.Good Evening to all!

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  20. Is your alias "Luci Buckley"? Otherwise how could Amazon.com have a review of your book when it states the book isn't yet available? Apparently Luci Buckley has reviewed the book she bought on Amazon! Well done Luci! You managed to buy and read a book that isn't available yet!

    Perhaps you should have written your own review AFTER the book was made available to the public!

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  21. This seems like a strange thing to say but: it makes me feel so much better to see that you buy bread when you're too busy. :) As a homesteading housewife, I take my duties around the home seriously. Lately, though, I've been feeling guilty as many tasks (like breadmaking) have fallen to the wayside (I am currently seven months pregnant with my first child). You've reminded me that we do what we can, when we can. Trying to handle too many things at once can be a recipe for disaster.

    Regarding the list: I have a notebook where I keep a running list of tasks. I check the list each day and do as many things as I am able. I add to it as I go, then when enough items are crossed off, I begin a fresh list, carrying over the leftover items. I found giving myself specific tasks for each day too constrictive and stressful.

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  22. Anon, I have no aliases. I don't know Luci but I appreciate the time she took to write her review. I have no idea why Amazon is listing my book. Maybe you could write to them instead of me and use your real name for a change.

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    1. What a strange message that was from that person!

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  23. amanda, I'm just a normal woman and I buy bread when I have to. Take care of yourself, love. And good luck with your new baby.

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  24. Good morning Rhonda.Thanks for the reminder about a daily list. I find that that's the best way to actually get anything done. I hope Hanno is recovering from his back problems. Will he be able to make the trip to Toowoomba with you? It's not as cold here now as last week but is overcast and miserable. Hopefully Wednesday will be a lovely sunny day.

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  25. Nanna Chel, Hanno is fine now and he will certainly be with me in Toowoomba. I doubt anything would keep him away. We're both looking forward to it very much.

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  26. I know the value of lists but generally only use them when life gets really hectic. The best 'list' for me is a weekly menu. Now if I've got that my week is good!. I bought 2 of your books as gifts for my daughters. I know if they read that and follow your advice that they'll be OK in this unsettled world!

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  27. So encouraging to read that you forget to bake the bread too (also nice to read how you normally fit it into the morning routine as I was wondering if this was a good idea rather than my dinner time panic). I've been thinking about being busy lately verses taking time and recently wrote something about it for a friend's blog. I base a lot of the practical aspects of my attempts at living simply on your book - I think it is really easy to read and use and doesn't make you feel out of your depth when considering these ideas for the first time. This is probably one of the reasons it's doing so well. (Another is that it is just a beautiful friendly book in terms of presentation etc)
    Thanks for this blog too - I often pop in to visit even if I don't comment. I appreciate the weekend reading segments too. :)

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  28. To Anon....You have to be an Amazon customer to post a review, not have purchased the book from Amazon, so this person would have bought the book anywhere, it has been available on the internet for quite a while and in bookshops in Australia since release.
    If you are going to attack someone,it is a good idea to get your facts straight first.
    If you are honestly concerned about Amazon reviews, take the time to read a lot and you will find that some reviewers have SO obviously not read the book, they just post a generic review to earn credit points.

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  29. I don't write a list every day but almost! When I'm particularly busy and need to focus and am doing work for several organisations, then a list becomes invaluable.

    At times I've thought I've been losing my marbles, too, however instead of slowing down as the children have grown, life has become very busy and somewhat of a juggling act. It requires great skill to keep everything going that we need to and a list certainly helps. I operate best when my list is written the night before, something I wrote about recently on my blog.

    Glad to hear Hanno has recovered.

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  30. I have a to-do-list in my phone and i can put in there what has to be done, then i mark the box next to the task it goes to the bottom of the list. Next morning i un-mark it and start again.

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  31. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm so glad you sometimes have bought bread. Unfortunately I am sporadic with my breadmaking, I think I had a couple of failures due to old yeast and I have not yet revived my sourdough culture since my cruise. With regard to your book, on my way home, at Sydney Airport I saw your book sitting on the shelves in a lovely book shop. I felt like I had truely returned home!

    I like lists as well, I have a standard morning list since reading your blog and using the forum but I also have a master list on a white board of things we want to achieve. (Including a lot of the renos) Thankyou so much for sharing your ideas and recipes, I love the soap,dog food/bickis, now use borax, bicarb and citric acid in the dishwasher and the citrus vinegar cleaner. I have now knitted two dish cloths with I am very happy with (currently doing more). Rhonda, I am 54, and at the the time in my life where I need to decide whether to go backto work or stay at home, I love it at home and I have started to become productive, I would love to know your thought processes that brought you to the decision to stay at home. I still get a nagging feeling that I should do some paid work, probably my socialisation..

    Thankyou again, Vikki (cqgardeningchick)

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  32. Oh Yes Rhonda, I'm a list girl too, nothing gets done around here if it's not written down. I can not function without it!!
    Glad to hear about your book doing so well, you must feel extremely proud! It's a fantastic book. Your such an inspiration. I wish I lived next door to you too, however it appears that we are on the move very, very soon and unfortunately it's not up north...will keep you posted.
    Take care
    Karen xo

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  33. One of the necessities of dail life is my lsi! I am a goal orientated person and get quite annoyed with myself when I don't get everything done. Sometimes there are must do items on there which are imperative....a business call to make or something that requies urgent attention.

    Over the last few days I have had a slack attack. Not sure if it's due to the long weekend in S.A and having two samll children home? Since I have had children I have had to tailr my list so that things are more achievable.

    I think there are times when the body is trying to tell us something....that there is a need to slow down or take a break from the list which drives us....

    I think in your situation Rhonda, there are now added tasks that you did not have before your book was published. You have a much broader audience now with many more Emails and blogs to respond to. In that sense, part of your life is not your own. You are part of the public arena now with your 'fame'.All the public meetings you now attend and being a guest speaker etc....they are the price we pay for being so popular.Prbably for you Rhonda, you may now have to find a renewed sense of work - life balance, otherwise the very things you have treasured in the past will slowly drift further away as your 'public' engagements impede more and more into the lifestyle you have so much embraced.

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  34. Rhonda, when it is all getting too hard I now simply pick up your book and flick through the pages - it brings inspiration and re-assurance that we can "live simply". I have read it from front to back, thankyou to both Hanno and yourself for allowing us to be part of your life and for passing on your wisdom.

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  35. I love my iCal to remind me of things like appointments etc but definitely function better if I have a written list to help me through the day.

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  36. Im a list maker for sure. When we have a day at home I also encourage my little one to make list of the things that he would lie tod that day, for example: do some drawing, baking, play a board game - this avoids the "what can we dooooooo Mum?!" moments. I also keep the lists - it's nice to look back at them sometimes :)

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  37. Smiling here as I love my daily lists too, jotted down either the night before or first thing. Often things don't get completed but lots do :)
    Congratulations on your book sales. My first copy went back to USA with my daughter after her visit so I ordered another one immediately as I didn't want to be without it ! It is a wonderful book, not only for the information within but visually its beautiful. It is inspiring, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom Rhonda.
    Enjoy your family time,
    Hugs ((()))
    Mabel

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  38. I write a list each night in my diary before I go to bed and for me it keeps me focussed and ensures that I'm attending to tasks that need to be done. I tend to not worry on the weekends, to just enjoy a little break from the structure of the week but I do find without it I don't get as much achieved, maybe I should start writing lists for the weekend too. Enjoy your Monday with family. Catherine

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  39. Lovely post. I always LOVE your photos, they are beautiful to look at.

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  40. Did you know your book is selling in eBay?

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  41. Rhonda there must be something in the air: I've fallen off my list making too and I'm an obsessive list maker. I usually plan what I want to get done in the week then, each day, I take a few things off the list and get them done. Somehow the list makes me more accountable, if things are just in my head I tend to think "I'll do that later". It's rainy and cool today so I'll be inside, I'm going to get back on track with my lists!

    Such good news about the book! Last night I proudly told a friend (to whom I've loaned the book) that you were on the best seller list, she's really enjoying the book and says it reminds her of what her mother taught her.

    I hope you have a lovely time with SSA.

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  42. The book is awesome, Rhonda! I loved every single page of it!

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  43. I really envy you all for making lists and sticking with them. When I have made a list I never seem to accomplish whats on the list...even if its realistic...then I feel guilty about it...so I just don't do it now.

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  44. I am of the list making persuasion too. I know it isn't for everyone but it certainly works for me especially as I have my farm work to do as well. It helps to prioritise and not forget the things that just MUST be done while doing less vital tasks.

    I'm happy for you that your book is having such success. I have heard so many good things about it. Our budget right now isn't allowing for extra indulgences but I hope to read it one day. In the mean time, I will just read your blog.
    Tracy

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  45. Pretty sure you are not losing your marbles Rhonda!! You just have so much going on at the moment! I love my daily lists too but have to be careful or they can become a source of stress for me as i like to cross things off and feel a certain sense of failure when i don't get everything done!
    I had to laugh when i walked into my teen's room the other day and she had lists all over her desk! I wonder if the twins will take after me and their older sister as well!!
    Hope you are enjoying your Monday with family and missing all this torrential rain we are getting here! Great weekend for soup though!

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  46. I'm a list maker - but I do find that if I don't control my urge to list then I end up writing lists but never completing them! A psych once told me that I had to stop thinking of things as "done"when put on the list and then I would be driven to actually carry things out. Not sure if that is true but I do know that I've thrived under just having prompts rather than direct instructions....so in the morning just tidy from one end of the house to the other and then I know it is all done. I do really like lists though lol

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  47. Melinda asks
    Just wondering where the Landcare is you are speaking at next week and details on time cost and location would be good.
    Thanks Melinda

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  48. Hi Melinda. It's the Landcare State Conference in Brisbane. Here is the program. http://qldlandcareconference.org.au/cms/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Program-V7-6June12-v2-for-web.pdf

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  49. Hi Rhonda!

    I still am reading your book and oohhww! How I lóve it!
    I am knitting my days away with Deb's waffled dishcloths, thinking all day long of how to use less and save us money. In the meantime I am looking for the best way of preserving our own grown food and oh my.. is there more to tell? No.. everybody needs your book as a good and true homework! ;o)

    Love from Holland!

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  50. Hi Rhonda,

    Congratulations on your book continuing to do so well! I was so happy when I found it in the ABC store one afternoon. I had already been reading about simple living and beginning to live this way for many years, however, it was so encouraging to find a book so well written and bringing it all together - with new ideas to try.

    Best of all though is that after I had read and re-read the book there has been your wonderful blog to check everyday, the forum and old posts to read. For me that is the most amazing thing - that the book is only the beginning - or entryway for me... you have given so much and you provide me with so much ongoing inspiration.

    It's understandable you might be a little busy at the moment. Best wishes with getting back to your lists.

    Claire

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  51. I too need to write down a to - do list. I use a planner that has two pages for each day, a calendar page and a page that I use as a diary. I write down my daily tasks and those I hope to accomplish on the calendar side. This way I can check them off, and it keeps me focused. I then sit down each evening and write down what I did do on the other page. Sometimes I find that I accomplished more than I expected. Those items I didn't get done (the extra things I would like to do) I forward to the next day. This keeps me on track, reminds me of those things that I easily forget to do, and gives me a diary to look back at .

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  52. Dear Rhonda, I am a reader from Holland and I've bought your book via Fishpound. I love your book. And your blogs. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, struggles and succes with us!

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  53. Oh, Rhonda, you are so right about the list! And adding a weeks' worth is too overwhelming, but a day's worth is just what I need to do, too, to keep me on track. I'm so happy your book is doing well! I need to check what the shipping would be to the States; the only thing holding me back!

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  54. Hello Rondha, I bought your book after seeing it on a blog. It was, for me, a real incentive on starting to live a little bit differently. As I have mentioned on my stitching and blog, I have made many little changes and they have proved to be so significant that I now see things differently... I am still learning and I do know that the real challenge is to stay on track... but so far, I feel in control... I can choose for myself... My wife is not completely convinced yet as she (rightly) thinks that they are many things we are already doing but I find that writing a budget and tracking my spending helps me think of what I am buying and I now question myself about my needs and wants which is something I had never done before... and it's a good start... thank you very much for your book which is SO helpful in many areas of daily and family life.
    David (France)

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  55. Rhonda I'm very glad to see your book is doing so well and wouldn't be surprised to see this continue. It was perfect timing for such a book. There is a return to living frugally but so many people who want to do this lack the necessary skills. I wonder if in the future people will remember how important it is to pass these skills on or if the whole cycle will happen again. It's not a funny old fashioned way of doing things but rather important life sustaining skills.

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  56. I'm all about a daily list! It's a "security blanket" for me, I think. I have been using the calendar on my cell phone lately. It even beeps me 15 minutes before I need to do something that is scheduled!

    And you're right about falling back into old habits if the new, improved ones aren't well-tended!

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  57. Jenny in IdahoJune 13, 2012 3:18 am

    Hi! Love your blog. I work in book publishing and wanted to point out that it's standard practice for the publisher to distribute Advance Review Copies (called ARCs) of a book to the media and selected readers. They are called "Advance" because they are distributed "in advance" of the book releasing to the general public. Again, this is a standard book industry practice. "Anonymous" needs to do her research before making unwarranted accusations.

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  58. I hear you! Lists work. I discovered flylady in January due to some comments here and on the forum, and the system is pretty ideal for me given my current stage of life and procrastination ability. I've fallen off the wagon a bit recently, and I think that it's partly because I moved from written to electronic lists. Maybe I need to go back to paper... Thanks for the gentle prod :-)

    Anna

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