Tag Archives: Planning

List Making, Priorities & Holiday Shopping

Simple.  Easy.  There are things waiting to be done so you get out your favorite list making method and write them down.  Then you prioritize them, bang through them and the day is done with much accomplished.  Sure.  Why are there whole books written about getting stuff done then?  And articles in nearly every December issue of magazines about making the holidays light, bright and cheery without getting buried in your to-dos?

making lists

I’ve been thinking about planning on the personal side of that work-life balance since I wrote my last post.  And because it is the holiday season and Black Friday highlights are showing the usual frenzies of shoppers clicking through their lists and getting in each other’s way.  I’ve participated all of once in the Black Friday melee and found it to be a thoroughly frustrating not to be repeated experience.  Whatever prompts these people to see the excess of shopping hassles as a priority is beyond me.


I understand the thrill of the chase, and I definitely get the joy of a deal.  Maybe it defies my sensibilities because we don’t tend to buy each other electronics in my family.  When I do buy them, it is after research on the best product and based more on reliability and features than price.  And most of these door busters seem to be electronics.  Too, I don’t like to get up early on a day off, nor am I fond of being cold.  Shopping is meant to be leisurely when I’m buying gifts.  A return to my teen days of browsing and considering, unlike errand running which is map it, get it, and move on.  I want to think about the person that I’m shopping for, not look over my shoulder for a potential kamikaze attack.


Back when I had more time, I would get out my baking implements in mid-November and pull out my cookie recipes.  I would add to a growing pile of cookies and quick breads in my freezer each week until mid-December when they would all come out and I would box them up as presents for extended family. (My boys fearful that I wouldn’t save enough for them to munch.)  Hundreds of cookies, about a dozen different kinds.  My back and knees are happy that is not my routine anymore, but the rest of me misses it – and so do many family members.  I hope to be able to return to days when cookie baking can get back on my priority list for the holidays.  I’ll get one of those cushioned mats for my back, knees and feet.


If I had to explain how I make my holiday priorities, it would be to pick out the things that mean holiday to me – ways to be closer to friends and family, to feel joy.  I love Christmas cards, festive packages, all of the carols.  Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward all.


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A Change in Planning

At work I plan in a project management and process style.  This should go before that, these tools are necessary to complete that task, assemble this list of things before starting task x.  It makes so much more sense to plan – who wants to keep stopping and starting a project to get it right?

my PM reading

It would make sense then if I applied the same concepts to my personal life.  Yes, it would.  But that isn’t how it usually happens.  I’m behind on making doctor and dentist appointments, there is a list of little things that need to be fixed in the house, and don’t ask me the last time that I went on a vacation beyond visiting relatives.  All of these activities take some planning and so await that step.


I have actually taken a day off of work to do all this planning so that I will be prepared for the day off that I will need to take to complete the tasks themselves.  I know many of you can relate.  It is just too hard to squeeze the calls and so on that are the planning stage for all of this stuff that begs to be done.  Evenings would be a good time, or maybe weekends.  Sure.  One out of fifteen things on my list are successfully planned during these hours.


It seems to me that I am often rewriting a to-do list onto a new sheet and transferring most of the items over just because the old one got too hard to read in the bottom of my purse or on the front of the fridge.  I wish I could say because so many of the points on the list were crossed off.  Ha.  I have taken to dating the lists, just for self-torture purposes.


I’ve decided that I must use up all of the best planning brain cells at work and leave the lazy ones for personal stuff.  I drive home at the end of a day, or wake up on a Saturday with the best intentions and sometimes manage to actually knock two things off the list on the same day.  Only to have two new ones show up the next day.  (Sigh.)


Can you relate?  If you can’t because you are on top of all the aspects of your life, do share your secrets.


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