Tuesday, 10 December 2013

It's Tuesday, and it's time to make a plan!

Hello there,
Tuesday's blog rolls back the hours, remember? We are opening a can of business P's as we go. So far, we have had a taste of P for Product, Placement, Price and Perseverance. So today, let's take a look at P for Plan.
Me? I need a plan every day. If I don't know where I am headed every single day, I can end up quite rudderless by lunchtime! I just bounce around wondering where to start, and don't achieve much of anything.
So I got in the habit many, many years ago, of making a "list of things to do tomorrow" every evening, before I go to bed. That way, as soon as I open my eyes, I know what to do when I get up. Now to many, this may seem pretty obvious, but oddly enough, not many people I know actually do it ! I know people who make lists when they wake up, but for my own peace of mind, I find the night before much better. And whilst writing tomorrow's to do list, I have the great satisfaction of ticking the boxes for what I have accomplished today. Anything which didn't get done just gets carried over to the following day's plan.
Now don't think for a minute that I just go ploughing through my list, batting people out of the way to achieve my daily goals! Not at all! And some days I don't even look at it! But should I need a rudder, the list is there.
This leaves time in the morning for a gratitude list. That is also a big part of my routine that is my daily plan for living. I find it helps me a great deal to stay upbeat when I focus on things to be grateful for.
So to the plan. Well, since this making lists is obviously an integral part of the way I function, it follows that I tackle most things this way. A list gives me an overview of the situation, whatever it may be. As soon as I have written it, I have got more control. It's much like a road map; tells me which direction to take. And when that step-at-a-time approach becomes a way of life, then life becomes much easier. Less floundering, less projecting, and less worrying about things which will probably never happen. Just stick to the plan!
There are things on my list which I just keep carrying over, day after day after day. Eventually, I will get sick of looking at it and do something about it! For example, I remember writing "write a will" so many times, that eventually I thought I really must sort this out before I die!!! And I did!
The other one which I keep transferring to tomorrow's list is "Go to the gym". Haven't been since the summer, but at least I give myself a little kick up the arse every evening!
When I first started appearing on Create & Craft, I used to say "I've got a plan" a lot. People used to laugh at me and it became a standing joke. I never even realised I said it a lot. I am just wired that way. It works for me.
There are loads of ways and places to write lists. On the back of your hand, on the back of a fag packet, on your bathroom mirror. And at some time in my life, I have used those for sure! For many years, I used a big black book, like a ledger, which I just worked my way through, one day at a time. It was like my brain on paper. Misplacing the big black book was always very disconcerting! Came to rely on it! Nowadays, with the coming of the technical age, I use an Ipad and a very cool app called Wunderlist. Check it out; it is perfect for me.
I remember, years ago, when the kids were nippers, if they were up to no good, I would point to the shopping list (which was always in progress and hanging from a fridge magnet) and say, "you know the rules!". And they would look at it, and nod. This worked liked a dream until they learned to read.
On a philosophical note, I believe that we move towards what we picture in our minds. If I write something down, I am already making a contract with myself to tackle it at some stage. It is already becoming tangible. So I have to think about my intentions carefully, no matter how trivial they may seem.
In the words of Lao Tzu,
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.


Ain't that the truth!
As Clarity has grown and expanded, the need for forward planning has become even greater. But what came first? The chicken or the egg? Did Clarity grow because of all the endless planning and prep? So often, people ask me how I manage to do so much. The honest answer? Lists and planning. And don't forget, I have got a fantastic Clarity-team to execute those plans today! I am surrounded by clever, hardworking, like-minded people nowadays. Look! Here we are in France, eating cheese and baguette, and the business is flourishing fine without us. I like that. But you should see the list of new ideas Dave and I have started over here!

Do you remember the lovely presenter Lottie? I used to love working with Lottie on Sundays, and she with me. We had something essential in common: we were always extremely well prepared before a TV show. And just before the cameras went live, we would always say together,
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!"
I do miss working with Lottie, but knowing her, I would guess that whatever she is doing, she is doing it very, very well.
So, next Tuesday, let's talk about preparation!
Love
Barb x






71 comments:

  1. Morning Barb, If I had a list you your blog would be on it. I too miss Lotties cheery smile ,wonder what she is up to ?

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  2. Oh lol I have a plan.

    I always have a plan...maybe not written down these days as I no longer work (and there are not quite so many things going on). But still in my head I have a plan and if it gets too messy in there ..I too make a list. As you say the satisfaction you get when it all comes to friuition is good for the soul I always say. Top of my plan for today was clean the cooker. So now I am sat having a cuppa and feeling smug with myself because its done. ..next on list kitchen floor and so it goes on. Hope you are having a lovely break. Xx

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  3. couldnt be without my to do list i find it clears the mind and as you say Barbara the satisfaction of ticking off jobs done is great . so glad you are having a good time. x

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  4. Bonjour, thanks for your lovely post. I am too much "bohème" as we say in France, and your post make me realise that I should write "list to do" every evening, will surely help me doing more.
    Have a great day.
    Laurence xx

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  5. Good morning,
    Thanks for sharing, even in retirement I have action plans. I love a list.. ENJOY today. Best to Dave.

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  6. You would get on so well with my lovely daughter-in-law. She makes lists of lists. My problem these days is that I make a plan and someone comes along and totally trashes my plan. My plans were already manic this week but I had not factored in the decorator having a window to do my house before Christmas. Now I have to organise the dogs round him as well. Neither had I taken account of a rotten cold which laid me out. Then there was the friend who needed help with her computer and Kindle. I really must grab my own life and sort that out asap before Christmas. Hopefully the show next to the hairdresser' s will have decent wrapping paper and sell stamps so I can deal with two items on my list today. You are, as usual, an inspiration, Barbara. Thank you. xx Maggie

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    1. Maggie, dearest Maggie! Did I mention that there is nothing on any list that important that it can't wait until tomorrow ? That's the lovely thing! Things to do are on the radar - and that is good!

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  7. I think the best thing about list is screwing it up and throwing it away when all the items are ticked off.

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  8. A wonderful insight into the mind of a truly organised person.

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  9. I'm not a list person, mostly manic all of the time and things changing, typical me. Maybe I should start making lists that might make my life less manic but I think the thing is I do make a list in my head but never stick to it as something changes.

    Maybe try harder to make the right list and stick to it.

    Love looking at your blog you are basically opening the door to you and your inspiration.

    Hugs
    CraftyJacq
    xx

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    1. Make a list. You don't have to stick to it; just make it. The relief is palpable x

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  10. I love making lists but obviously I need to do more and be more organised in doing them. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  11. Morning Barbara, what a perfect read with my breakfast....and Wundalist ...just found it ....will be installed and used...thanks for the heads up....I love my lists....and like you I like to write them the night before.......but I do have to confess if I am having a bad day and not ticking things off my list ....I sneak something on that I have already achieved just so that I can tick it off and feel better....it gives me the boost to get more done....have a great day both....Jo. xx

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  12. My to do list is essential... I used to worry because my memory is terrible, but now I don't worry... I've backed up my brain on my iPad! Lol! Xx

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  13. Great start to the day! I'm a list writer too - it's nice to know I'm not the only one. Hope you're having a relaxing few days.

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  14. How insightful looking into the mind of Barbara Gray! I too make lists but invariably something happens or someone calls and the list just never seems to get done. I like the idea of counting your blessings and I try to do this every day, you can turn a negative into a positive just by looking in a different way. Keep enjoying your lovely break. Joan x

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  15. We are a family of listmakers, my husband even has a list of things to check in the house before we go away on holiday even if it's only for a few days. I'm not that bad, but I do have lists and tend to adjust the finite details in the shower as I start the day. Then I'm sorted and ready to go. Strange how a writing a list clears your brain.

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  16. Hi Barbara, love to make lists too, but keeping it up ......... And I admire that you are so well organized whilst beeing creative. Well, I think I am going to make a list of stamps I urgently Need - have a nice day !

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  17. Morning Barbara, Another inspirational blog........... I too make lists - To Do List, Shopping List, Wish List [for crafting goodies of course], Packing List for holiday, etc. etc.! My children used to tease me about my lists but, you know what, both my daughters make lists now they are adults. I also write my To Do list before going to bed for exactly the same reason as you....and how satisfying it is when I bin a fully crossed out ToDo list! And my Nanna taught me to "Count Your Blessings" - another little thing I've been able to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Keep enjoying your lovely break together Barbara and Dave; come home refreshed and raring to go in the wonderful world of Clarity!

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  18. Plans and priority lists I live my life by but all that has gone out of the window this week but I'll be back on it tomorrow! I couldn't do what I do without lists.
    How lovely to read about your plans Barbara! and I bet when you come back from your jollies you will have lots of new ideas on the list to share with us! Exciting times ahead at clarity I think!
    Enjoy the rest of the week. Love and hugs. Xxx

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  19. Plans and priority lists I live my life by but all that has gone out of the window this week but I'll be back on it tomorrow! I couldn't do what I do without lists.
    How lovely to read about your plans Barbara! and I bet when you come back from your jollies you will have lots of new ideas on the list to share with us! Exciting times ahead at clarity I think!
    Enjoy the rest of the week. Love and hugs. Xxx

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  20. How right you are Barbara! When I was training to teach one of the first things I was told was "Failing to plan is planning to fail". How true are those words! I look forward to the treats you have in store for us all,next year and hope that your workshops will again include West Meon or even something closer to Farnham. Perhaps we may even see you at 'Five' in Farnbroough (big craft show) in February - pleeeeeese!!! :)

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    1. If anyone is interested, the link to "Make It" Farnborough is http://www.make-it.org.uk/home

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  21. As a Secretary in the past I used to take pride in my ability to prioritise and re-prioritise lists/tasks/meetings for me and my Boss and when my list became too long I would make a Sub-list or Weekly list. So once something went on the weekly list I could chill out about it until FRIDAY! at which time I would think about getting that Monthly list out! Now I just make lists so I remember to do things, like "pick up kids from school" Feed Dog, Feed Fish,Feed Kids, and I set little alarms on my IPhone because as my Dad always used to say "you have no sense of time"!! And since I have known you Barbara I often hear myself saying "you need a plan"! xx

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  22. Good Morning Barb
    That made me think..I do my grocery shop on line so that's a list...I do a list in my mind at 2am in the morning when I can't sleep, and that one keeps me awake for hours lol
    My plans were what will I be doing in 10 years..
    Good read today Barb!
    LoveMarg

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  23. Could not survive without my lists. My mum told me recently she has some at home that I made as a teenager and before I was married. She has been keeping them for me and says she smiles when she reads some of them. Looking forward to see what your new plans entail and hold you have factored in some breaks for breathing into next years plans.

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  24. My husband is a great one for having his "to-do " list and he's forever adding to or ticking off . It works great for him ., not much of a list writer myself except for the shopping list. However whatever works best for the individual can't be a bad thing. Great read today and really enjoyed the little verse x

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  25. Hi Barbara, my dearest husband of 44 years died on Saturday very suddenly. Reading your blog today was just what I needed to get me moving. You're right having a plan helps. X

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    1. so so sorry to hear your very sad news jan x x love thoughts and prayers are with you and the family x x

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    2. Oh Jan! I am so so sorry to hear your life had just been devastated. Xxxxxxx

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    3. Jan … so sorry to read of your loss..but seeing you read Barbs uplifting blogs is warming….much love to you at this time x

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  26. Guten Morgen barbara... that was a fine read this morning i had to chuckle about the kick up the asssssssssssssskkkkkkkk no questions lol,,, you are so inspiring to many of us wish i had 1 gram of your talent i would be more than happy....well must go have to get my other half up... she is disabled so much of my time is taken up doing my best for her 24 7 but wouldn`t have it any other way.... love and hugs to all x x x

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  27. Hi, Barbara.... I love lists, too....even if I don't get all things on it completed, it means that I have at least made the effort! Glad you are enjoying your break, and taking the time to bring us some of your down-to-earth common sense...and a good dollop of laughter with it! I have a plan...lol Jo

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  28. What an insightful read, I really do love your tuesday blogs. I always used to be a list person (take after my mum) but I seem to have lost my way of late, I'm definitely floundering and getting nowhere fast which just results in me getting very frustrated with myself so my plan this evening is to start a plan and start writing my list again. Thanks Barbara, feel better already xx

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  29. I use lists at work, which have gone out of the window at the moment as I am currently at home nursing a cold. However, without this list on Outlook at work I wouldn't have a clue where to start when I do go back. I don't use lists at home but I do have a Calendar where I record special events, my voluntary work at Girlguiding Nottinghamshire HQ and Trefoil Guild meetings. I love reading your blog at it provides a real insight into your life and the world of Clarity.

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  30. Oh Barbara, I always intend to make lists but they never happen. If I managed it maybe I wouldn't keep missing your wonderful shows, ive missed the last two now! Yet somehow I always make lists on holiday! Will try to take your helpful words to heart lol.

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  31. Oh Barbara, I always intend to make lists but they never happen. If I managed it maybe I wouldn't keep missing your wonderful shows, ive missed the last two now! Yet somehow I always make lists on holiday! Will try to take your helpful words to heart lol.

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  32. I to am a list maker, back to my Nursing days and it has always stayed with me.
    Mind you I often wonder how you cope as you are always so busy, but you always look as if you are enjoying life. Do keep up the wonderful work you do as we all love you so much. Our Craft Star.

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  33. .Lists used to be a standing joke with my late husband, I would make a shopping list and 2 minutes in the supermarket he would say 'where's your list'. I had either left it a home or dropped it somewhere.
    Funny you should write this blog today as only last week I promised myself from the New Year I was going to make a list of all the handicrafts I wanted to finish off or make and dedicate one whole day a week to this. I have so much stock and I am not getting any younger and I know my daughter will throw everything when I'm gone!
    So from next year watch my blog (thats something else I don't keep up with).
    Never knew I would be so busy when I retired.

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  34. I miss Lottie to, she was a joy to watch. Love your blog and read it every day.
    Keep it coming Barb and we will keep reading.

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  35. I am the most disorganised person in the World ... but I do believe in lists... in the weeks before the boys were getting married, I wasn't sleeping very well so much to do ... I was making bridesmaids & pageboy clothes preparing for visitors.... too many thoughts whizzing about in my head .. Many nights I was up in the early hours making another list!! just transferring my thoughts onto paper gave me peace of mind and I'd wander back to bed and sleep soundly. Yes I miss Lottie too she was a sweetheart and certainly she always seemed interested in what she was presenting , especially when she was on with you, Barbara . Hope the hols are going well xxx annie

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  36. wonderful to have a plan Barb and thankyou for quoting Lao Tsu - I remember reading the Tao to ching at the tender age of 16 and that really rung true for me back then - think I need to give it a re-read! Big Hugs rachel x

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  37. I only really make lists when there's so many things to do bouncing around in my head I just tell myself to write them all down...but then I can't remember a lot of them !!! That's such a good idea Barbara to have a daily list, something concrete to refer to instead of relying on the old brain matter...especially when mine seems to have gone to mush lately!! Lottie was lovely...she seemed a very genuine person...enjoy the rest of your time en France xx

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  38. Only just discovered your blog, thank you for all your positive thoughts and inspirational ideas x

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  39. My partner is just like you - a list for everything, and boy does he stick to it! No chocolate jumping into the shopping trolley for him - if it wasn't on the list it doesn't get bought!
    Hope you're really enjoying your break in France, and look forward to the new and improved Clarity plan for 2014! Can it be any better or more inspirational?

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  40. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has a daily to do list! It helps me to survive the general business of the world we live in and it some ways helps me to sleep better once I've jotted my thoughts down. Enjoy the rest of your well deserved break.

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  41. I do think that this is something that women do more than men. I have a mental list but I know until I write it down it won't get done. So I need to go back to writing my lists because nothing is better than ticking them off and knowing that today I have achieved something! Enjoy your break xx

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  42. In case anyone has not looked at your Facebook page this morning, Barbara, I found a couple of bits of info on her, including a lovely video of her singing with Andrew Lloyd Webber - it is so beautiful. She was the original Swallow in his musical of whistle Down the Wind. When you see the presenters of Create and Craft, you never think that they might have had or still have another career as well. I have had to go and download the soundtrack of the musical now just to hear more of it and of her. xx Maggie

    PS Barbara, I have downloaded Wunderlist now onto my phone and the Kindle and have already done one item of the list. Progress!! I also use Google Calendar, which is synced between the computers, tablet and phone. Clever stuff.

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    1. Yes, Lottie is a super talent. Beautiful girl beautiful voice.

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  43. Hi, It sounds like we are all the same, lists and planning makes sure nothing gets forgotten and everything gets done!!!!

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  44. Barbara you are such an inspiration I think I might have to start making lists, my husband and youngest daughter are great list makers and it's something I have tried to do but never managed but after reading your blog post I think I will have to try again. I will download the app is Santa brings me an iPhone for Christmas......pleases Santa but for now it will have to be in a book. I really like the idea of doing it the evening before rather than in the morning now that might just work for me.
    Thank you for being so inspiring
    Jackie x

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  45. Oh barbara a women after my own heart. My family laugh at me and my lists. I always have a 'to do' list on the go and find it focuses my mind on what needs to be accomplished each day or week. Definitely gives me a sense of purpose each day. Love your Tuesday blog. I love forward to reading it each week - its on my to do list!!!!
    Lesley

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  46. Hi Barb,
    Love your Tuesday blog - it gives a real insight into the world of Barbara Gray. ( love every other day too by the way) . When I was teaching, I used to make lists - it was the only way I could keep up with what I needed to do and like you say, some things just got carried over! However, now I'm fortunate enough to have taken early retirement, I find I don't really need to make lists anymore. Hope you are now well and truly rested. Alison xx

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    1. Alison, since I retired from teaching, I found I needed to keep lists even more. I seemed to have to keep more plates spinning than ever, and this year has just been manic with all my plans being carried through. Without lists and my diary, digital and paper, I find myself double and treble booking myself. I have such a butterfly mind that is needs taming a little without the constraints of a school timetable. I am not sure how I ever had time to teach as well as to live. Enjoy your retirement and make the most of every minute. xx Maggie

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  47. fab post Barbara, I use a to do list in work and occasionally at home but like the idea of doing every night and also the gratitidue list - think I will start that xx

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  48. I love lists especially when I get to tick off a job done. Very satisfying. Since my husband and I (gosh sound like the Queen now) retired earlier this year life has been manic. Four kids, partners and four grandchildren,one of which has been ill on and off since Easter, keep us busy. So need my list, just checking the Xmas pressie one to make sure not missed out anyone. By the way Barbara just seen a news item saying that mistletoe being sold for top prices, better get Dave loading that car. xx

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    1. I shall send him up a tree tomorrow! X

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  49. Thank you for today's fab post - I know what you mean about putting something on a list feeling like you are making a commitment to do it, even if it rolls over from one day to another you are more likely to get to it in the end! Love the idea of a gratitude list - such a great way to start the day, I shall start mine tomorrow by saying that I am grateful for your blog :)

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  50. I love these instalments - I am a great believer in lists - they help you plan and put things in order - and as you say what you don't achieve today you move forward to tomorrow. I would never have achieved my role in the Olympics with Greenwich Council if I had not worked with lists - and then priorities….mind you making a will - well thats one of those ones that roles forward---one day! I remember Lottie - she was lovely - its nice to know that out there are many like minded people who find lists invaluable.. Keep enjoying the cheese - I shall look forward to tomorrow! xxx

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  51. oops i feel really disorganized now. i don't like lists as they make me feel anxious if they don't ge shorter. i don't even write one to go shopping. but i can really see you making a list and yes you always have a plan and are always prepared.
    like everyone else i also miss Lottie. very bubbly and cheerful xx

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  52. Yes planning and lists are a must for me . They keep me on track but if things don't get done like you I just add it to the next list. At present I am not working so I feel I need some structure to my day which is why I use a list, I have the need to feel like I have achieved at least one thing everyday. Hope you have had a great time and you have lots of great things on your list.

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  53. Oh Barbara you have so much in common with my daughter! From your love of languages and translation to the organisation of your thoughts and plans. Laura makes detailed plans and lists which have impressed her lecturers so much that they have asked for copies to put on the wall of their office! I find that the very act of writing things down frees up 'brain space' and thus reduces stress in my life, thank goodness for lists! x

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  54. It's making lists that got me through years of juggling a job and family and now I'm retired my lists are even longer, couldn't survive without a daily list. I write mine in a morning so I've got a plan for the day and it always has things on it that I'm in the mood to do as well as things I have to do. I keep a note pad next to my bed as well to jot down things that come into my mind if I can't sleep.

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  55. As a teacher my life is one long list. I wouldn't cope otherwise. I do have separate lists though - school work (very long, boring and can't be put off); housework (also very boring but can be and often is put off!) Shopping which I give to hubby of course and finally my arty/crafty list, which is the best and use to motivate me to complete the other lists. Thank you for your wise words Barbara. Off now check my lists for tomorrow before I catch some beauty sleep... x

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  56. Lists are my way of coping with life. When things seem too much, I write my list & then just take it one item at a time, ticking as I go. I also add items & carry others over. I kept waking up in the night stressing about things to organise & do the next day. So now I keep a pad & pen next to the bed & write it all down then wake up feeling like things are resolved.
    I miss lottie too. Enjoy the rest of your hols.x

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  57. Ah what would we do without our lists I love being able to tick things off they help me feel less muddled too. Loving reading your blog each day especially as it now gets emailed to me such a treat thank you xx

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  58. Yes yes that's all well and good Barb, but where did you put the list of lists !
    X

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  59. Great blog again - thanks Barbara. I don't make lists very often. I try and then seem to forget about them. I like the fact that sometimes you don't either and they help when stop you feeling rudderless. I think I'll give it ago again and take a look at the wunderlist app as I like the idea of making a list at night. Funny you should mention Lottie as I was thinking about her over the weekend and wondering where she'd gone. I hope you and Dave continue to have a great break. Angela x

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  60. Oh Barb, try as I may (and try I do) I never seem to master this list thing. Oh I make them but think that I can can rely on my memory-bad move-memory fails: could this be an age thing I wonder ;-) and as a result not much gets done.
    Note to self-make a note to make lists; I'm sure I'd accomplish more!!
    Enjoy the rest of your break? Theresa.x

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  61. I too was wondering what had happened to Lottie. She was a lovely presenter. Glad you and Dave are enjoying your holiday. It all looks beautiful.

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Thank you for your kind messages and I hope you get inspiration from my ramblings.

Barb x