Monday, December 4, 2017

Much To Do About To-Do! What Do YOU Do?

Hank's notebook
HANK :  Sometimes I look at mine in wide-eyed disbelief. How can anyone’s To Do list be that long? And then I laugh, and count my blessings, and say: the only thing worse than a too-long To Do list is an empty one, right? And I have to say that I cannot live without mine. I keep it in  a very old-fashioned way, in a spiral notebook. It's a running cumulative list, and happily cross things off as I get them done.  Page after page after page. 

(You know me, sometimes I will add something to the list that I have already accomplished, and cross it off just to have the fun of crossing it off.)

I carry my list around with me wherever I go. Sometimes, when I am overwhelmed with it, I make a sidebar page with the items I simply have to do today. 

Sometimes I write an actual schedule with hour by hour listings and what I have to do each hour. We all stay organized anyway we can, right?

(I save my notebooks, and actually look back at them from time to time, almost like a diary. And to pat myself on the back, just a bit. And to prove things can actually get accomplished.)

And doesn’t December add a whole new element to our lists? Suddenly there are gifts and cards and dates and parties and deadlines deadlines deadlines.

Do you have To Do lists? On paper? Electronic? Do you save them? How do you feel about them? And what’s especially on yours for December?

Debs' notebook
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Yes, Hank, paper!!!! I use a good spiral notebook and update my lists just like you do. And I do sidebars and arrows and underlining.  I've tried all sorts of digital lists and reminders but nothing works as well as the notebook. Not to mention that I draw and doodle in it, and when a notebook is finished, I have a record of what went on my life. And I keep them. The last one ran from December 2015 to September 2017. I also keep a paper weekly planner, Quo Vadis Minister, where I keep track of all sorts of things--an abbreviated diary. 

All this reminds me that I better start on the Christmas lists. Yikes!!!!

HALLIE EPHRON: I usually don't keep a to-do list and when I do, it's on a scrap of paper that I've scrounged from the trash. Mostly I use my calendar (paper) as a to-do list. I write in what I need to do, usually a few days before it's due. For Christmas I keep a gift list... not really to remind me what I need to get, but because I always forget what I've already gotten. As I get more and more stressed and overbooked, my to-do lists get neater and more compulsive.
Hallie's notebook

LUCY BURDETTE:  Oh you are making me realize what a mess my “so-called” organization is! I keep my calendar on the phone, where it syncs with the computer. However I also have this kind of list in piles of paper on my actual desk. (Scrap paper like Hallie's.) The one on the left is recipes to do for Mystery lovers kitchen, where I post 2 to 3 times per month. The one on the right has recipes, Jungle Red notes for my last week, and personal things. When something gets too messy or has most everything crossed off, I start a new one. And then there is the list on the bottom with notes to remember for the edits I just did on Death on the Menu. It’s kind of a miracle that I get most of it done! And as you can see, there is nothing about Christmas on the list...I better go remedy that.
Lucy's checklist

HANK: Lucy, I love the little boxes! 

DEBS: Hallie and Lucy, my mother kept notes and lists on scraps of paper. It was maddening, and the older she got, the more disorganized she was. She could never remember where she's written something down and she would spend hours searching for the right piece of paper, often in tears. So that made me very determined NOT to do that!  Everything goes in my spiral along with the to-do lists. Jungle Red ideas, notes on business, the estimate from the plumber, etc., etc., etc. And I try really hard to date everything so that it's easy to look up something later.

INGRID THOFT: I love lists, but I’m not consistent in the manner in which I keep a to-do list.  I’ve tried electronic versions on my phone, and they never take, but I hate having to carry a notebook around with me in addition to my phone.  Usually, the busier my life gets, the more I rely on a paper list, and there also seems to be a correlation with age:  The older I get, the less I remember and the more I need to rely on a written reminder.  I do have other kinds of lists like packing lists for certain climates and a shopping list that lives on the kitchen island.  I’d be lost without that list.  I’m curious, Debs and Hank, what kind of notebooks do you use to house your lists?

DEBS: Ingrid, I use a Mead 5 Star, 9 1/2 by 6 1/2 with sections. The current one is a lovely lime green. I also use a small one (4 x 6?) for grocery lists. Yes, I know I can make a grocery list on my phone, but I like to organize my lists to match the way the store is laid out. If I just put down random things, I always forget something. I usually jot the week's meal plans in this notebook, too, when I'm making the shopping lists. 

Uh, I'm not starting to sound a little obsessive, am I?

HANK: SO funny, Debs. I use Mead five star, too! (Here's mine, it's black.) Wide ruled, because my handwriting can get scrawly and I often insert notes on the notes, and there are little pockets in the back cover. Where you can tuck stuff that you later forget. I just found a whole page of postage stamps!

JENN MCKINLAY: I'm a list maker. I love scratching things off my to do list. I do find that I tend to roll my to dos to the next day and then the next until the to do  has got to be done THAT DAY. It's very dramatic and gets me motivated to actually get things done. Without a list nothing would happen in my world - ever. 

RHYS BOWEN: Another list-maker here. I always carry little notebooks with me. Sometimes I make lists on the back of envelopes. And cross off when something is accomplished. And every New Year's Day I open my special notebook and write down my goals for the coming year, what I was thankful for in the past year, and what I achieved in the past year. I cross off goals that I achieved and find that really satisfying.

HANK: How about you, Reds and readers? Are you list-makers? Scraps or notebooks? How many? How diligent are you? And what's on your list for December?

119 comments:

  1. I’m not much of a list-maker except for grocery lists [that way I tend to forget fewer things] . . . I have a calendar book in which I keep track of things that need to be done, but that’s about it . . . .

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    1. I think we're list mates, Joan - I do keep a grocery list, too -- on a scrap of paper on the kitchen counter. Then the challenge is bringing it with me to the market. THEN the challenge is reading it while I"m there.

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    2. That's when the electronic list maker comes in handy! OneNote on my phone is always with me. I've gotten into the habit of putting the grocery list (and other errand needs) on it.

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    3. One Note! I'll have to look that up. Putting it on the list...

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  2. Who has time to write out things on a to do list? I keep a mental one, however, and then sometimes find I missed something. The important things do happen, however.

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  3. I am such a list maker that my lists have lists. Hahaha! I especially have reading lists--New Books for the Year, month by month; Reading List for the Year, includes new and old books; Series List to Catch-up on; Halloween Reading List; Christmas Reading List; Books to Buy Myself for Christmas; and on it goes. I do these on the computer and print out from time to time. I also use the computer to do lists for holiday meals and shopping lists for those meals. I usually hand write a daily to do list, when I make one. If I have a lot to get done for the week, I'll make out what I need to do each day. And, it is so satisfying to cross items off. Yes, Hank, I sometimes add something I did that wasn't on the list and cross it off, too. I used to make out Christmas lists for both kids when they were growing up, and I've still got some. I came across one the other day when I was sorting some papers, and I kept it instead of tossing it. I enjoy remembering what my kids got when they were 6 or 9 or 12 or whatever age. I will be making out my Christmas card list this week and crossing off the names as I address, lick, and stamp them. Oh, and then there are the lists of things I want to do when I go on a trip. I have a Great Britain that I started a few years ago and add to every now and then. I suppose I will start a list of walking trails soon, too, as my husband is retiring next summer, and we have decided to do some walking trail activity. The new interest in bird watching I talked about on yesterday's post goes with that, and I'm guessing I'll be making out a bird list, too. Oh, and I make a list when I go to Bouchercon of who I haven't met that I want to meet if possible, along with my schedule I type out. Gee, maybe I need to make a list of all my lists I have.

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    1. Oh you must make a bird list! Because otherwise you'll forget what you've seen. Fortunately my husband keeps one for us both.

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    2. Kathy you are amazing! What an adorable idea to find your children’s Christmas card list… Awwww… It would be so cute to put on a Christmas newsletter!

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    3. Uh oh. Newsletter… Add to the list!

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    4. I have a small note book dedicated to Christmas which I get out each year. I record recipes I am going to cook, sweet and savoury (plus location of said recipes) Ideas for dressing the table, gift lists and card lists. At the end of Christmas before I put it away I note who spent Christmas with us, what the weather was like (usually HOT and HUMID 35deg! I live in Brisbane!)and make a note on the food - whether a recipe worked etc. I have done this for 30 years and can look back at all our Christmas celebrations, gifts given etc etc. Lovely now my boys are grown.

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  4. One of my favorite topics! I also use a spiral notebook for the daily list, but nothing special - whatever I picked up at CVS, usually. And I keep them but I'm not sure I've ever looked back at an old one. I use a google calendar on phone and computers, and love it, but the paper calendar in my office and the one downstairs are also really important for the visual reminders. Now that it's December, I need to get cranking on setting up guest appearances for my late January release, I just realized And make cookie dough. And do the laundry...Sigh. But first - writing! "Write" is always the top thing on the daily list when I'm in first draft mode like now.

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    1. Yes, I agree a Calendar is better if you can actually see it, I guess to see how long it is between things, or how many events are in a row, and when you need to say no.
      Why is it so much better to see it actually on paper? When the iPhone calendar looks just the same?

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  5. Hi Hank!

    Well, I am not an obsessive list keeper regarding to-do lists. Usually on Thursday of each week, I'll take a scrap of paper and make my grocery list for after work on Friday. I'll usually include on that list things that I need to do on Saturday which is my usual run around doing errands (bill paying or stopping by the bookstore). I sometimes include household chores that need to be done.

    But I don't use a notebook and I don't save the lists. Once it is finished, I chuck it.

    As for December, I really don't have anything special to do so there is no special list for the month.

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    1. This is reminding me, my challenge is chucking vestigial lists... sometimes I have six or seven old lists hanging around that should have been thrown out. Note to self: ADD TOSS LIST TO LIST

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    2. That’s the fun! Seeing the old list to see how much you’ve accomplished!

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    3. I have enough clutter that I don't need to add anything extra if I can help it.

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  6. Hank,
    I was a big list keeper when I was working for the federal government since I was usually working on/managing 4-10 projects at the same time. So I definitely needed and created separate calendars and lists (hard copy monthly calendars and a notebook organizer) to keep track of progress and deadlines.

    Now that I am retired and my schedule is a bit erratic, I keep everything on my Google calendar which syncs between my PC and phone.

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    1. When I was a project manager I was a compulsive list-keeper, too. And I had a 3-ring binder with tabs for different projects. Essential or I'd have lost my mind.

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    2. Funny about the Google calendar, I have that too. But writing it on paper is so much faster, you know? I have my events on the calendar on my phone, but the to do list is a different thing to me.

      But I am endlessly fascinated by how we all do it!

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    3. Yes, I don't need a visual reminder (huge calendar) on the wall, just 30 minute reminders of upcoming Meetups or appointments since they no longer occur at the same time every week.

      And for the rest, I just keep a mental to-do list for weekly chores like groceries. But I do see the satisfaction of being able to cross-off items when you're done.

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    4. Yes, that is absolutely the fun part. As well as actually doing the thing, of course. xoo

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    5. Hank, I use Google calendar, too, on my phone and my computer, but I also have a whiteboard calendar in the kitchen. I love having that month-at-a-glance visual reminder handy. And besides, it's fun to fill out at the first of every month.

      Which reminds me, I haven't done December. Add "calendar" to to-do list, lol.

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  7. Another list maker here. I use a small pad of lined paper and break the list into days and start listing about a week ahead of time. I include things like "work on WIP" and "exercise" because it gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to cross them off. At the top of the page is my carry-over list with things like "vacuum" and "wash kitchen floor"--items that can go an incredibly long time before being crossed off!

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    1. so smart to put things you know you can cross off onto your list Kathy!!

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  8. Debs, I want to know what happens if you lose your notebook???

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    1. Lucy, we do not talk about that! I left mine at channel 7 over the weekend, and I am kind of suffering from list withdrawal. The notebook is 9 x 12, so it is a little bit difficult to lose… Knock on wood.

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    2. Lucy, I've never lost it. It stays on my desk right next to my computer.

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  9. Some time ago, I found a to-do list numbered 1-10. It changed my perspective. I can do 10 things a day, but I cannot do 25 things a day, so I got rid of the endless list and stick with 10. Doable goals, that's my mantra.

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    1. That is brilliant! I love the idea of accomplishment, that’s the fun of crossing things off. It also takes away the intimidating element of having way way way too much to do.

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    2. Ten things are impressive. I keep my lust to five or less.

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  10. I would be a goner without my lists. I use legal pads, one at work and one on my desk at home. In a pinch, I also call myself and leave voice mail messages. It works!

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    1. Oh, yes, absolutely I have done that too. Or I’ll send emails to myself with the subject: “Hank read!” Or “Hank do! “

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  11. It's ridiculous but I organize my week around what day the butcher has excellent chicken breasts on sale for $2.99/lb. That's my food-shopping and errand morning. Kitchen calendar and master list for week, plus a chore list for weekends. Things get so crazy before Christmas that sometimes I tape a list to the car steering wheel (toilet paper! Kleenex! cough drops!)

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    1. I've put post-it notes in the car many times!

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  12. Whew! Such a relief to learn that writers I admire are sorta-kinda obsessive list-makers, too. But, have I gone too far? I make weekly lists, highlighting appointments and deadlines, then move on to daily lists, noting everything I think I'm supposed to accomplish during the day. If I am feeling especially compulsive, I'll jot down sub-categories (emails, house tasks, writing jobs). I do wonder how liberating it would be to, instead of making lists of things I have to do (do laundry, go to the gym), I just *did* them--do the laundry, go to the gym...I do think often of T.S. Eliot's comment about measuring out life in coffee spoons...

    Noneless, as long as I am writing lists, the practice seem to go better with the right tools. I love writing in a spiral-bound Cachet/Daler-Rowney sketch book. But they are expensive and hard to find, so it's usually the CVS notebook for me. I'm not so fussy about pens--I prefer the Uniball Vision Needle, but anything works.

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  13. You can tell my level of organization by the fact I missed joining in on the conversation over the weekend! Like many of you, my calendar is online and on my phone. I have a very pretty desk agenda that I almost never open; instead, I have scraps of paper, two or three small spiral notebooks, and my daughters, whom I use as sort of living reminders. I tried to set up the to-do list function on Alexa, but I couldn't get the hang of it.

    Every year - every year! - my resolution is to get more organized. I am, actually, more than I used to be. But I still have a long way to go.

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    1. Yes, if the notebooks are too pretty, I always have trouble writing in them... It feels like I am harming them in some way.

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    2. Julia, just say “add milk to shopping list “. “Add dust piano to to Dani like st”. Nothing to set up

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    3. That was “dust the piano”

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  14. This post is timely because I had marked today as an organization day. And I really need to get organized! I do make lists, but don't refer to them that often because I find that if I write something down, I usually remember it. This even works with grocery lists, so they still help me even if I forget to take them to the store, as I do all too often. I desperately need to do some prioritizing and space and time management, though!

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    1. Ah HA, MaryC! We are here to help. And I agree, once you write it down, you're more likely to remember. But just in case...
      And there are only so many things you can remember! Sometimes ifI have to remember a list, I count the things, because I can remember that I need to remember 6 things. Right?

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    2. That's a good idea, Hank. I love little tips like that. They really help!

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  15. One of my daughters, a diehard listmaker, has lists of her lists. This started in middle school, and it still delights me to run across one of them as I clear out the attic. As soon as she could write she used to give me long, long Christmas wish lists. Beginning in third grade, she wrote them on adding machine paper, and the first item was always "A car". (This is the daughter who spent a year bumming around Europe and Africa in a camper van.)

    I have to-do lists, in paper and in OneNote. I use OneNote on my phone, tablet, and desktop, because it updates across platforms. If I get an idea, or want to save a photo, or add to my grocery list, that's what I use. It even has a dictation sub-app. My husband has zillions of little scraps of whatever paper he can find, usually a torn piece, filled with cryptic notes for whatever video he's working on. I couldn't decipher one with a gun to my head, so I just have to pray that if he starts losing his mind I will recognize the difference between one kind of gobbledygook and another.

    And then there are Wish Lists. I keep a periodically updated (every few years) Life Wish List hidden away, with long-range goals: travel dreams, financial goals, exercise and weight loss goals, etc. This I only take out to consult a couple of times a year. I've found that merely writing these goals down has power, and it always surprises me to see how many get accomplished between updates. For instance, about ten years ago I added "Travel to Africa with Steve", and four years ago we went to Tanzania. That one still astonishes, since it was such a nebulously worded wish. It's like life affirmations, only written down, and for my eyes only. Words have power.

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    1. A car! Well, why not, right?

      And I agree--writing something down makes it more real.

      OneNote, huh? I don't know about it--looking it up now. I cannot live--as you all know--without voice dictation!

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  16. I love my lists. I keep the work list in a steno notebook (I'm left-handed, so I like to have that spiral binding out of the way) and I call the notebook "Gigi's Brain." Like many of you, my lists can get long and annotated. I start a new page when the current page gets too cluttered, even if I have to carry stuff over from an old list to a new one. And yes, I will certainly add stuff to a list after I've done it, if it wasn't on the list to begin with. I figure anything that takes up more than 15 minutes of my time deserves to be an item on the list.

    I have a whole separate set of lists when it comes to concert planning. Each concert gets its own multi-division folder, with sections for repertoire, travel plans, personnel/payroll, technical stuff, and the master running script for the entire concert. Of course there's a list at the very front of the folder that covers all those things in a timeline, so I can check them off as I go.

    At home I've taken to keeping my lists in the Notes app on my phone, mostly because I lost the last steno pad I had around the house, and I don't generally lose my phone. There I delete stuff I've done, but if it's a multi-phase project, like laundry, I'll put Xs at the front of each line to represent progress, and only delete it when the whole project is finished.

    Cleaning out yet another of the many boxes around my house the other day ("Clean out boxes" is on my list!) I found two of my old steno pads dating to sometime in the late 1980s. They were sort of interesting, but not really worth the storage space. Into the recycling they went, and I got to mark one more thing off my list.

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    1. But isn't it fun, just for that moment, to revisit who you were back then?

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  17. Well, we have a dry-erase calendar where all the appointments go.

    We have a dry-erase whiteboard in the dining room for notes, lists of things that have to be accomplished/bought. The Girl put her schedule up there on Saturday when she had a ton of different places to be.

    Then I hava a running list in Evernote of things I need to get one (and yes, I've done the "put something on the list so I have the satisfaction of crossing it off immediately" thing, too) so it's with me wherever.

    Is that three lists? Is that compulsive? LOL

    Mary/Liz

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  18. I was an inveterate list maker when I was working, particular as a nursing director. Every single phone call, conversation, idea went on a list, started new each day. What got done got crossed off, often with a wee note as to result/action. What didn't get done went to the top of the next day's list. It was invaluable when someone, my boss from hell for instance, came to accuse me of something I didn't do. I had the documentation right there, day, time, and outcome. This stuff stands up in court, by the way. (Grin)

    Now I rely on Alexa for the grocery list making, calling stuff out to her as I cook. This is fabulous because it shows up on both my phone and Julie's, and we can add or subtract as needed.

    For projects around the house, I do best if I make a list on a scrap of paper. This is for once in a while things, like clean the nose prints off the bay window. Thank you Toby and Penny, for keeping me safe from dangerous UPS trucks and FedX trucks and neighborhood dog walkers, not to mention the postal carrier.

    My calendar is on my phone, with scheduled reminders so I don't get too complacent about retirement. I just looked at November, and out of 20 or so weekdays, I had something scheduled for 18 of them, from physical therapy to dental appointments to taking the dogs to the groomer. I usually sent the alerts for the day or two before, so I know how I should dress!.

    Lastly, Toby and Penny keep me on my toes. Right now they are agitating for there morning stroll, which means it must be nearly ten o'clock! Ah life, so busy even in retirement.

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    1. Yes, I'll admit to little sticky notes that are everywhere--because if I don't write it down instantly, I forget.

      ALexa is interesting. I can't get used to it for lists, because I keep forgetting to ask for the list.

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    2. Alexa may be the anti-Christ but I adore her. Yeasterday I installed a dot in the basement. So when I fall and can’t get up, all I have to do is ask her to call someone for help. And she reads to me while I punish myself on the cardioglide

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    3. Oh, gosh, I love my dots. (Call for help? Wow. How does that work?)

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    4. Ann, too funny. We have Dots in almost every room. If you ask Alexa to tell you a Christmas story, she reads The Night Before Christmas.

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    5. Hank, you can sync Alexa with your contact list on your phone. Then you say Alexa call Ann! Or you can say “drop in” and she asks which device. Our dots have brilliant names like basement, kitchen, bedroom, etc. then you can speak with whoever is in one of those rooms

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    6. Hi Ann, I just have to ask--did you name your dogs after the Margot Arnold characters? I just love that series!

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    7. Hi Melanie. And no. Toby is Toby because he told me that was his name. ;) Penny is really Penny Lane, a la the Beatles song. It suits her.

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  19. I have a pile of to-do on my home desk, an in-basket on my office desk, a Weekly Minder calender at the office where I write down all my to-dos for the day (I have to highlight the important stuff because everything is in there), I have a master list of marketing stuff for the books, I schedule to-dos into my phones calendar and clock. And I gave the kid a phone, just in case I miss something and he needs to tell me what to do.

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    1. Highlighting! VERY important. I use stars, or sometimes draw a box around the thing. Aren't we funny?

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  20. I have somewhat different habits with my work to-do list and my personal. But there is little doubt that I fall in the "borderline obsessive" camp, too.

    For work, I use my list to drive what I do moving forward and to capture what I did looking backward. It is a Word document, and as I finish tasks I change them to strike-through font and move them to the bottom of the list. At the end of each month I save the file under the name of that month "To Do List December 2017", delete all the still waiting tasks, turn the strike-through back to regular font, and I have a record of what I accomplished that month. Then I delete those from the original and just keep using it the same way.

    At home, I use paper lists. The length of time a given list covers varies -- often, I start one for the weekend, as I schedule few at-home tasks for week nights. But leading up to Thanksgiving (which for us was followed by a big reception at our home this past weekend) I had one to-do list that covered about a three week period, broken out by the date by which I wanted each set of tasks completed.

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    1. Ah..Is it terrible that I don't think that's "borderline obsessive" at ALL? I think lists like that are smart, reassuring, organized-and the sign of a person who is reliable. Right?

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  21. Ooooh, I do love lists! I may have been the first person to buy "The Book of Lists" when it was published several years back. My "to do" list isn't anything as formal as some of you, but you've given me some great ideas. My favorite list is my "books I've read" list that I now do annually on my blog, but it's the only one I do electronically. I'm a lover of paper, notebooks and journals. I keep my list of books I want to read on the wish list at Amazon (so handy!). Not that I buy all my books at amazon, I'm also a firm believer in supporting our indies, but I love that wish list feature. And I have a list of places I want to visit in Paris. The photographer who took the 1920s photos of us (my new pen pal) sent me a long and wonderful list of places to shop for vintage clothing.

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    1. And wasn't that book dedicated the Franz Liszt?

      And oh, Kaye...vintage clothing in Paris. Might that be..your new book???

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  22. Jenn, I just crossed something off today's to-do list, and I sent your personal FB page a message about it. FYI, in case you check the Other list over on Messenger as seldom as I do...

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  23. I use an ARC notebook. I have one section for Calendar, one for Daily, one for tracking my Health (food journal and exercise), one section of Lists (60 things I have done in my 60th year, books I want to read, movies I want to see, places I want to go), and a final section for Meetings. With the ARC notebook, I can move pages around, pull out pages which are no longer relevant and add new pages. I take it with me everywhere!

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    1. I think it's this system sold by Staples.
      https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1&biw=1280&bih=542&tbm=shop&ei=UH0lWue-Ocji_AbAipXQCA&q=ARC++system&oq=ARC++system&gs_l=psy-ab.12..0l4.19120.21849.0.30676.8.5.0.3.3.0.82.367.5.5.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.8.381...0i10k1.0.Nm_Dy852CSY

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  24. List maker and calendar keeper! Addicted to the Ink & Volt planner (weekly plans) and then the Quo Vadis Minister for for the daily plans/done. And oh yes, Claire Fontaine spiral for the running to do list - why Claire Fontaine - I use gel or fountain pens, they bleed through anything else. Now, a question for the group - why am I so disorganized! Gulp, back to work

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    1. I'm hearing all sorts of lovely new things! Claire Fontaine?

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  25. For some reason Blogger is cranky today and won't let me reply to individual comments.

    Karen, I love your yearly goals list. So interesting that writing things down triggers things in our brains in a way that just thinking about them doesn't. I find the same thing to be true with writing things by hand versus digitally--I remember things better when I write them by hand.

    I have Evernote, and One Note, but forget to use them:-)

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  26. Lists! Oh, I have such a love-hate relationship with my to do list(s). Every year, I try to find a better planner / organizer / method, but no matter what I pick, it doesn't fit some aspect of my life. At work, I'm required to keep my meetings and appointments in my company email calendar, so that people can see when I'm available. I get many of my to-do items from email, so it's logical to copy them to a task item in the same software, and keep them there, too....but the list is so long. If I make them visible on my calendar, there's so much clutter that I can't find anything.

    I used to keep a spreadsheet, which was a custom one that I developed after attending a Franklin Planner class. I didn't like the FP method because of all the re-writing, but I do like the concept of a "Master list" and a daily list....so I keep the spreadsheet, but then I have to keep transferring items from my work calendar to it...and then there's my personal list.

    So then I tried two spreadsheets...one for work, and one personal. I love spreadsheets, because of the way i can sort the tasks by categories and due dates and so on....but they aren't portable unless I want to print a new one every day or carry my computer around when I'm not home. I could look at the spreadsheet from my phone, but they are too clumsy to navigate there.

    So i turned to Google Keep. I love Google Keep! I still don't rely on it completely, because I still have the company calendar and my spreadsheets and did I mention the daily spiral notebook entries ?....Anyway, if you haven't looked in to Google Keep, check it out. I keep grocery and shopping lists there. I can enter things as they occur to me, during the day, from my computer keyboard. Then when I'm out shopping, I just open Keep on my phone, and all my lists are there. Besides shopping lists, I keep a list of books I want to buy, and movies I want to see. I also jot notes there - things I want to remember. I can archive notes to reduce the clutter, but still find them easily when I search on the label I assigned ( shopping, books, movies, etc). You can copy and paste into Keep, and export Keep lists to word docs, etc.

    So it's December, and time for me to decide again on what to buy for next year.

    I have the "At a Glance" style cheap paper calendar from the dollar store. I keep doc appointments and such there. I also have my spiral notebooks, my spreadsheets, my work email, and Keep.

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    1. Jane! Can you come over?

      And a public-for-the-office calendar? Whoa. But I agree, master list and daily list. It's just--on the same page. because I just draw a box. :-)

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    2. Um, sure...I'll pencil you in...somewhere.

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  27. Oh, I love being among my people, borderline obsessives! How else does anyone manage a complex life? It was more complex when I was managing children/teens, myself and family life but it remains a challenge. I use an At a Glance notebook type calendar for daily appointments, with related papers clipped to back and including addresses/phone numbers.That's where I add daily errand reminders too. Yes, the paper version, though there are Those in MY House who insist I should switch to digital. I have a hanging pad in kitchen for grocery shopping- anything needed is added when noticed and then I complete when I plan cooking.A kitchen calendar too. Office tasks - both writing related and paper work, etc - get jotted on a piece of scrap paper,prominently left on keyboard and discarded when done. And I have a cute small notebook, divided by colored page edges into 4 sections. I list books I want to read - mystery, other fiction,non-fiction - and in the last section, ones I've read that were memorable. I've had it for years so it serves nicely as a list of what I've read,too. And yes, I occasionally misplace it and am bereft until I find it. Finally? During new book promo, when I am managing a complex schedule of events and blogs and deadline? Then Excel is my friend.(Do I qualify for this club? :-) )

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    1. You are not only in, you're on the board! xoo An dI like writing grocery lists, too. Then you can take them, separately.

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  28. P.S. I just caught the addendum to yesterday's blog post about Rhys's honor (Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service was named a best historical of 2017 by Overdrive Librarians), and Hallie's You'll Never Know, Dear named a 2017 Best Audiobook by Audiofile Magazine.

    Well done, ladies. And well deserved. Congratulations!

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    1. Indeed. Congratulations Rhys and Hallie

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  29. I keep my grocery list in an app on my phone and use Google calendar, but other than that I use paper for lists. A few months ago I attended a program at the local library on bullet journals and have ended up adapting a simplified (very, very simplified) version to keep notes and to-do and other lists. All part of my never-ending quest to be an organized person. If you Google "bullet journal" you'll see why I decided to go "very, very" simple.

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    1. Christine, the bullet journal thing is insane. I was wondering if anyone was into that. I don't know how anyone has time to do most of those I've seen, but I've adapted some of the ideas into my Quo Vadis Weekly Planner.

      Anyone else doing bullet journals? If you don't know what a bullet journal is, look on Pinterest!

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    2. I've been hearing a lot about bullet journals! Off to look it up...

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    3. I explored the bullet journal at one point, but it was so overwhelming, I abandoned my efforts early on!

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  30. I'm surprised no one (besides Debs) has mentioned Pinterest. My daughter, who's an architect and does a lot of interior design, uses Pinterest a lot for keeping track of ideas for various projects. I spent one day on Pinterest and gave up... Lucy, you use it, don't you? And Debs, for what?

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    1. I use it sporadically. For kitchen/organization ideas, Halloween decorations/refreshments, and for gardening/garden design inspiration.

      Nancy Martin is the queen of Pinterest. When she was writing the last of the Blackbird books she pinned hundreds of gorgeous couture gowns. It was all I could do not to drool on my keyboard.

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    2. Yes, Nancy's was fabulous. But works because she had a very specific topic. (I can never figure out how to just "browse" Pinterest.)

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    3. I had to ban myself from Pinterest. Hours would go by and I would accomplish nothing except soaking up the glory of what could be if I was better at time management. LOL.

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    4. I learned from Barb Ross via, I think, Lucy, to make a Pinterest board for my cover ideas for each book. And then when my editor asks for my cover ideas, I can point him to that board. I don't use it for to-do lists, but it's also invaluable for looking at historical clothing - even right down to the underwear!

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    5. Pinterest is rabbit hole down which I am not allowed to go.

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  31. Hallie, I think you have to be very specific with Pinterest or it would completely overwhelm you. And I don't do it for promotional/social networking reasons, but just for ideas about things I'm interested in. It's a great way to keep track of recipes. I have a couple of Garden boards, but mostly I use it to collect ideas for illustrated journals.

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  32. I agree, but I did like the overall idea of having one place for lists and for keeping track of things that happen during the year (I've never been able to successfully keep a journal but would like to just note some things down). So, I think I have it pared down to what I can use -- and will stick to -- with a simple small spiral notebook split into a few sections. But no fancy designs, multiple colored pens, etc.

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    1. okay, this was supposed to be a reply to the comment Debs made on my earlier post. Sorry if it's confusing.

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    2. Yes, and somehow a to-do list becomes the journal.

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  33. How interesting that there are so many people who still keep paper lists. I went digital a few years back because my handwriting can make items on the list impossible to figure out. Also, so many of my to-do items are daily tasks. I did find a program called Informant that works on my desktop and phone and seems to fit my needs. It combines my calendar, to-dos, and notes. It's kind of like a Franklin planner, but on the phone. I still think handwritten lists are more flexible, but I hate the idea of sitting down to rewrite the same things every day. Since I always have my phone with me, I can also just tell Siri to remind me and it syncs into my to-do list.

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    1. Hey Terry! Yes, I think paper is just--faster. And I don't re-write. I just continue. (And I love Siri for reminders!)

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    2. I like be Alexa for reminders and julie and I both get them on our phones. She keeps track of me that was. There’s something about he voice telling me to do my PT exercises that is pleasantly motivating

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  34. My husband keeps a sticky note in his wallet and every time he thinks of something he needs to do or buy, he writes it on the sticky note. I make beautiful notes in beautiful notebooks for a couple of days and find the book next year; then it's time to buy another one. Or I lose the list. Or I lose the notebook. My Franklin planner--about the third one I bought because each was supposed to be the one to solve my problems with organizing--was stolen from my car; I didn't miss it, and the burglar got about ten pages of what I didn't get around to doing. My psychologist, after two visits a questionnaire, diagnosed me with a condition and said my brain is wired that way, which explains why I procrastinate and love paper but can't figure out what to do with it and so stack it all over the room, and why the valedictorian made easy A's but has never had any follow-through (Is the book finished? No). I crave order, buy beautiful notebooks, make lists, and stop. But I have a lot of beautiful notebooks.

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    1. Kathy, I laughed through your entire post. You are fabulous. (And yes, my desk is covered with sticky notes. It's so much fun to throw them away afterward! But I do love my book of lists.)

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    2. I love this! Almost makes me want to go buy a notebook!

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    3. LOL, Kathy! This made perfect sense to me!

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    4. Isn't it totally the funniest thing??

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    5. Omigod, we are all sisters (and brother) under the skin!

      I have all these beautiful notebooks, each with three pages of stuff written in them. And I start endless numbers of projects that take ages to finish that last little bit. What is that???

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    6. This non-list maker also has many tiny notebooks -- pretty ones -- I always take notes at meetings or at speakers -- but rarely look back at them.

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    7. Kathy - what was that condition ? I need to know, because, after reading your post, I'm pretty sure we are related. Is it genetic?

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  35. Hank, this is off-topic, but your book won the "most-stolen" prize during SINC-NE's holiday party yankee swap yesterday! Picture on my facebook page (my personal one).

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    1. Yay! And how thoughtful of you..thank you! Looking now..xoxo

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  36. No wonder you wonderful Reds get so much done!! Lists! I have never used them -- no grocery lists (unless for a specific recipe) and no to-do lists and no gift lists. I rely on a small paper calendar in my purse (I lost one once and was desolate -- until it actually showed up behind a bookcase a couple of months later) and a paper address book. I also have scraps of paper and backs of envelopes on the desk next to my laptop -- book titles, information, etc. Do my scraps of paper count as a list.

    Even when I was teaching full time, I did most of my planning in my head while I did a mind-less task -- only later jotting the ideas down.

    Hmm. I think I need a better way to make my way in the world? Or not. I'm ok.

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    1. Whatever works, definitely! But if necessary, Kathy Waller has a bunch of notebooks...she might give you one! :-)

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  37. Ah, lists--I just love them. I tried a bullet journal for about a week and just hated it! Back to the beloved Passion Planner (now that thing has changed my life!) and the index cards and steno notebook. I feel free to admit this here--after I make my to do lists, I number the tasks and then add a square with a colored marker to indicate my estimate of how long the task will take by 15 minute segments. If it will take longer than an hour, I'll break it up further so it all seems manageable. Can't live without colored markers.

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    1. Wow, Melanie, this is great. Colored markers. I do have to look us bullet journal, now that we've heard yesses and noes. Hmmm. (is that how you spell yesses and noes?)

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  38. Pretty obsessive with my lists. I use a Moleskine... I figure that since it's expensive I won't ditch it mid year! I keep a calendar of each month with space for the appointments/green bin empty days/pilates class/piano lesson etc. I put each months calendar in just before the current month ends. I have a meals page to inspire me when I can't think of a thing for dinner (and the recipe book it comes out of with page number!) I have a To Do list for that month with boxes to tick off a red arrow transfers it to the next month. Each month I start a books page where I jot any good recommendations. Then a page for date claimers for the next month which I transfer when I draw up the page for the month. Interspersed are garden jobs, telephone numbers (in case I loose my phone!)and generally anything that you could possibly make a list about. Sounds like a lot of work but I like sitting down at the end of each month, thinking about what I did over the last month and anticipating the next....a way of being thankful I guess.

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    1. Oh, OEL: this sounds fabulous. And incredibly..reassuring.

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    2. Wow, OEL!!! I am impressed! Love your organization--and your philosophy!

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  39. Hi Hank
    can't live without my: watch (worn to bed); to-do list; book(s)to take in my car (emergency books); my piano (had to live without one at one sorry point in my life) pc computer; laptop; and car. I think that's it. Sandy Gardner

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  40. ps Hank, you said you don't rewrite stuff in your list, you continue. What did you mean and how do you do that?
    sandy gardner

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  41. Haven't read your books yet. But seems like a good read. What about the book makes it unique to mysteries and do you write series or stand alone mostly

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