2 April 2013

Work in progress - lists

I make myself busy on purpose. It helps me slow down and live simply. Busyness has always been part of my life. I work better when I'm under some sort of pressure or when I have to meet a deadline. Because ... when I have no pressure making me work, I don't. I sit back thinking I have all the time in the world to do what I need to do and sometimes I end up doing nothing.  At this stage of my life being busy is working very well for me. I have a lot of opportunities nowadays and I say yes to projects to keep me on my toes and for the sheer pleasure I get from it. When I work through all my tasks, then I have a chance to relax and I make the most of it.

People often comment on my workload but I rarely do more than I know I'm capable of. Being raised in a working class home, I discovered the benefits of work early in life and I've never found a reason to stop work, even now I can. I'm supposed to be retired but people keep asking me to do this and that and I'm happy to keep going while I can. When I thought I was retiring, way back when I closed down my business, I found that doing everything I wanted to do in my home made every day full, rich and empowering. I thought I was "retiring" and that work would ease off, but instead I work in a different and more fulfilling way which more often than not doesn't feel like work.

I have always found that writing down what I have to do enables me to work through the list without having to rely on my memory to keep going. A list provides a reminder of the work and adds an element of organisation to it as well. It allows me to think ahead and choose the tasks that need to be done and what can wait a while. Now that I'm moving into a very busy period, I'm doing a weekly and a daily list. This is the best way for me to choose what I'll work on during the week, then choose from that list what I'll tackle each day. I've found it's a very good way of organising myself and managing my time.

You can join me if you want to. If some of you join me we might do it for a few months on a Monday morning to see if the lists makes us accountable enough to make a difference to our work. The thing you mustn't do it to make an unrealistic list. It must be achievable.

I wrote my weekly list yesterday. I'll move whatever I feel like doing, or need to do on a particular day, over to my daily list. Hopefully by the end of the week, everything on my NEEDS list can be ticked off. I intend to go to my WANTS list in my breaks and on the weekend and hope to have most things on that list finished by week's end too.

My weekly list - Monday, 2 April.

  • Transfer the Down to Earth forum to another server.
  • Finish off the last few pages of the Milk ebook and send it in to be made into an ebook.
  • Read about how to create a newsletter in my email account.
  • Meet with Ernie on Tuesday.
  • Write notes for future workshops. 
  • Take photos for blog.
  • Go to the bank.
  • Pick up milk from the dairy.
  • Do a small amount of ironing.
  • Cook dinner every night.
  • Make a cake or biscuits.
  • Sow seeds.
  • Knit - finish off my cotton shawl.
  • Tidy my desk.
  • Write my blog.
  • Read.
  • Organise my new book proposal notes.
  • Take an hour's break in the middle of the day.
MY TUESDAY LIST - on this list I've moved items from my weekly needs and wants list to a list of what I hope to do today.
  • Write blog
  • Start forum transfer - this will take a couple of days
  • Finish Milk book
  • Meet Ernie
  • Pick up milk at dairy on way back from Ernie's
  • Cook dinner
Let me know if you join in and I'll find a way to link to you. I hope you enjoy your day.
Rhonda. xx


  1. You are smart! The difference between "I want to" and "I need to" is important, I've found. Sometimes the "I need to"s weigh me down for some reason, and I need to ask myself what I *want* to do. It's never anything selfish or lazy - for some reason things turn out better when I take that approach.

  2. Rhonda - I use the site bravenet.com to create my newsletter. It allows me to divide up into 6 topics, and it collects the addresses from my website. It sends in both hot mail and plain text so everyone gets it with no problems. Best of all it's free:-) (I don't mind paying, but free is more fun)

  3. I love a list, and I love to be busy. I tend to get more done, the more I have planned and if I have very little to do, nothing gets done.

  4. I love having lists, and follow the same strategy as you Rhonda! I used to make such unrealistic lists, but no more! I jot down all those things on a "master/someday" list, and have gotten better about just crossing off and letting go of things I know I won't actually do :)

  5. That's it!
    Enough procrastinating!
    I'm makin' a list!!

  6. Rhonda, you have inspired me to start a weekly list from today!!

    A list is something I never ever do! And yet I do so much every week and my head is swimming with plans & ideas all day long! No wonder I get so tired!

    So I just started one on my blog and will see what I get ticked off by next Monday!

    Thank you!

  7. Lists are my salvation. I made lists every day and tick things off as I do them. You remind me so much of my mother-in-law; she retired from teaching only to become so busy in her "retirement" that I don't know when she sleeps. I hope to be able to live the same way when I am older.

  8. Hello Rhonda,

    I just wanted to say well done for organizing the workshops. It will, I'm sure be so rewarding and such a lovely way to spend time with your Sister. I wish you all the best and am sure they will be very well received.

    Regarding the lists, I think I've made a list every day of my adult life but I do like the idea of a weekly list to take daily items from. Although I don't have a blog I can, I'm sure, adapt this idea to Word and keep it on the desktop of my computer so that it's easily accessible. The best part of course is the crossing off!

    Kind regards,

  9. I work better under pressure too - and I'm so proud of myself when I've accomplished a list of tasks.

    Rhonda, I live in North Carolina, USA, but do wish that I was close enough to take one of your workshops.

    Thank you for another wonderful blog post.

    1. It would be lovely to have you here for one of them, Pammie.

  10. I love making my lists too, it makes my mind tidy.
    As with Jaimes comment above, I also have a masterlist that runs continuosly.

    I hope your workshops run smoothly for you. I would have love to come along to the blue mountains one but have plans for that weekend.

    You may want to add how cold it will be there that time of year :)


    1. Michelle, the coldness is the reason I visit at that time. I love it! We'll have plenty of hot tea and coffee to keep us warm.

  11. Rhonda when we have the forum up and running we will be doing lists in our weekly challenge. Great topic!

    1. Great idea, Rose. It will make a very helpful challenge. xx

  12. Hi Rhonda, in regards to your email newsletter, it might be time to think about email marketing tools. Two very popular ones are Mail Chimp (http://mailchimp.com/) and AWeber (http://www.aweber.com/). Hope this helps...

    1. Hi Sally, thanks for your help. I'm using Mail Chimp at the moment. The list is quite long with well over 1000 subscribers, so I'm pleased I chose a program that helps me send the newsletters out. I was originally going to just use my email account because I didn't think many people would be interested. Still, I'm so pleased they are and hope the newsletter proves to be interesting to everyone I send it to.


  13. I love lists! Nothing is more gratifying than crossing off things on my To Do list.

  14. Rhonda, I love lists too and being able to cross something off a list gives a sense of achievement. The only problem is that I often leave my shopping list at home so am trying to get into the habit of making the list on my Smartphone as I always have my phone with me when shopping.I hope your foot has healed up by now.

    1. Hi Nann Chel,
      I too used to leave my shopping list at home, and so I started using the Out of Milk app on my smart phone although you could use anything and I am starting to get into the habit of adding to the list and like you I always have my phone with me and so always have my list, as long as I put everything on it I'm set ;)

  15. It's weird, but I got up early this morning wrote out a list. Now here I am at 10.49 am and the jobs that normally take up my whole day are done and I have time to draw instead.

  16. Hi Rhonda, great post to help get organised. I love lists, my daughter does too!
    I also have a notebook on hand for my "master" ideas. I have headings like finances, garden, craft, trips & holidays, well-being , things to make / repair, maintenance inside / outdoors, ...
    I just jot down stuff that I might want to research or get around to do some day or stuff that needs chasing up and not forgotten.
    Each week or so I review this notebook and try to pick one thing from it to do, this could be put on the weekly list.
    Sounds complicated but it keeps my head clear, especially when I see so many great ideas, workshops and want to learn and experience so much in life.
    congrats on getting so many subscribers to your newsletter!
    kind regards

  17. I love lists, the sense of achievement...but I do struggle to define the difference between wants and needs...something I do need to look at trying to do more determinedly as I think it helps a person not get so intense over not done things.

  18. I'll be joining you on this on, I have to make lists or I forget stuff! I also tend to think I have lots of time, waste most of it than feel annoyed and frustrated that I haven't achieved all that I wanted to. My one big problem with lists is... "The thing you mustn't do it to make an unrealistic list. It must be achievable." You guessed it, unrealistic and unachievable lists.

    cheers Kate

  19. I work back to front, I do the tasks, then write them on a list then cross them out, as that gives me great satisfaction to see them crossed off. My life can be a bit random depending on how I feel and what I feel like doing. For example, I might need to plant out some seedlings but if the beach looks good when I look out the window, I may go out with my camera and have a photographic session instead. I'm a bit spur of the moment with my decisions and often, if I don't write down what I've done, I feel I have done nothing, when in reality that is not true.

  20. Great idea about the "I want to" and "I need to" lists. I get bogged down by all the things I don't achieve on my weekly lists, so it's a good idea to clarify what's essential and what's not. Hopefully I can change my mindset and feel good about what I did achieve rather than what I didn't.

  21. Lists are my raison d'etre. I worship lists. I used to want to be a writer and looked a blank piece of paper the way some people look at George Clooney or Hugh Jackman. And then I would start writing a list instead of the great American novel. Lists can be art; the art of a life truly lived. Lists document our adventure. I linked to this post from my blog today because I had just realized my lists were not working for me lately and I wanted to share your invitation to compose the day, week, life on a humble and completely indispensable piece of paper. Lovely post. Thank you. PS: Can't wait to hear where you'll be in the Blue Mountains. Would love to stop by and meet you.

  22. I LOVE list writing for so many reasons. Primarily, it calms me. On the forum, Rose coined the graphic phrase "Brain Dump" and I LOVE that because the relief of writing everything down in list format releases the mind from holding the scramble of "stuff to do". Once my mind is calmed, I find I'm able to accomplish MUCH more (more efficiently, I might add) than if I tried to "hold everything in my brain".

    I make paper to-do lists on a daily basis and we also use paper for long term to do lists (monthly/annual projects, etc). In the peak of the busy season (Late Spring-Fall), we often make a weekend list which prioritizes the tasks/projects that need our attention together. We usually highlight the critical jobs, then order the not so urgent jobs after that. One at a time, those jobs are crossed off and we get as far as we can on the list. Anything not accomplished, gets added to next weekend's list.

    Grocery lists are always tapped into my phone because I've gone shopping far too many times with the blasted list left on the kitchen counter! Adding to/editing the list on my phone is no problem as my phone is usually with me. I have separate lists on my phone for different stores as well (Costco, health food store, etc). On occasion, I find myself unexpectedly near a store that I shop at only occasionally. It is efficient use of fuel (and time) to stop and pick up those infrequent purchases while I'm near (which is easy if my list is always with me on my phone).

    I also keep a list of items that I need from thrift stores on my phone. If I don't, I end up wasting money buying things that I "think" the kids need when in reality, they don't. If my list says "2 pair boys shorts size 8" it's easy to cross that off when I find them, eliminating unnecessary purchases. In our varied climate, our off season clothes are packed away so I'd never remember what we need for next season if I didn't write it down in my phone.

    I'm going to join you in your list making challenge today because I like the idea of starting with the weekly "to do" then breaking it down into daily chunks. :)

  23. I've made lists since -oooooh, many many years now! I used to do a little daily housework list and enjoy ticking each item off. When I was nursing , especially on nights, I would write a list and cellotape it to the nursing station desk so other staff could tick things off - most important when you had a complicated regime of observations to make, or baby feeds to do, our IV Infusions to check. They were famous lists, and much copied.
    These days I have monthly To-Do lists and daily ToDo lists and boy they really save my bacon, as I am now caring for my elderly infirm mum and have to remember all HER 'stuff' as well as ours ; more difficult as I get older myself!

    Yes, lists are a time saver and a bacon saver, and it is SO GOOD when you tick something off - childish maybe, but still gives me a buzz!

  24. I loooove making and crossing off lists....but mine are often overwhelming and stressful. I see in your blog the many things you accomplish and yet your daily/weekly lists look do-able! You have helped me realize I don't have to cross off "50" things to feel like I've accomplished a day's work or done enough to stay on top of things. I can actually have time to enjoy the day. Thank you!!

  25. I make lists on my phone for most things like the children's birthday parties, meal plans, shopping lists - we are moving house so I have lots of lists for that! I never thought of making a list for every day things I might try it and see if it shifts my focus - I am more inclined to sit and do my crocheting than sort through boxes and put washing away!

  26. I'm a list maker. I love them. They help clear my head of 'chatter'. I don't need to refer to them all the time because they also help me remember what I need to do. I too have a monthly list and then a daily list. There is nothing like that feeling of crossing a job off the list!


I welcome readers' comments. However, this blog never publishes business links or advertisements. If you're operating a business and want to leave your link here, I will delete your comment .

Blogger Template by pipdig