September 02, 2008

Always have a plan

[By Merry]

[I do enjoy]

So apparently it's September and everything's changed. It's all back-to-school, no more surf, sun and sand. Hardly got a summer, and now I'm supposed to start thinking cold weather and sunless days? I think not.
End of summer? No more fun?

I would like to protest, but I'm not sure where to direct the letter.

I had plans for this weekend. I had a To Do list two pages long. Last I checked, I'd done about four of the things on that list.
A really big schedule is overwhelming...

That's the trouble with planning: it's fine to write it all down, but then you actually have to go out and DO the things on the list. And they're usually dull, tedious, and not what I want to do.

What I should've done was put together a Realistic To Do list. Something like this:

6 am: Slap that alarm clock upside the head
7 am: More snooze alarm time
8:30am to 10:30 am: Lounge about in my pajamas. Read the paper, drink the coffee, pet the dog.
10:30 am: Make a list of all the things I'm supposed to get done today
10:45 am: Tear up the list and go visit the hammock out in the back yard
11:30am to whenever: Lounge. Idle. Daydream. Pet the dog. Have a bit more coffee.

etc., etc., etc.

I do not function well when it comes to plans. They're like diet or exercise diaries; writing stuff down is a pain. has a post on how to deal with To Do lists: How to Use a Day Plan Without Wanting to Stab Your Eyes Out. I like the part where he points out that it's a plan, not a binding contract. You get done what you can get done (given the fact that there's always going to be something coming up you didn't plan for), and you don't stress about what you can't get done.

Now that's what I call a plan.

Are you ready for the end of summer? Prepared for the beginning of fall and all those falling leaves/temperatures?

Please do not proceed to leave a comment if you've done all the kids' back-to-school shopping and put all your white shoes in winter storage and alphabetized all the lunchbox menus and color-coordinated your significant other's socks and organized your spice rack according to height, and... oh, you get the picture. It's okay to be organized, but we don't want any perfection around these parts, bub.

Follow-up on the 7 Types of Nice post last week: I ran across a brilliant example of the sub-category known as 'Southern-Fried Nice.' John Puccio, reviewing a movie, said of it that "You get your money's worth.... Its two hours seem like ten."

Reminder: tonight at Midnight (EST) is the deadline to enter the Surfer DVD giveaway. Leave a comment and you're entered to win. Then you can virtually surf all winter!


  1. Ah, plans, I used to have those...

    As badly as I do with a "To Do" list, I do even worse without one. I'm getting old enough where I tend to forget things, so it's a dumb time for me to have stopped keeping a running list of stuff I should get to.

    Perhaps it may be time to take out the pen and paper, even if it's only to write down things and then ignore most of them.

    And I can't believe it's already September. Was that the shortest summer in history or what?

  2. Damn, I just realized I'm in transit and am wearing white shoes with no chance to change. I lose.

  3. Elvira Kurt says it way better than I ever could.

  4. I need a middle of the road.

    Some fauxfurlined HANDCUFFS if you will.

    In that I'm not the norm and I'm too kind to myself (I'm thinking with regards to the PLAN not a CONTRACT) & am still searching for that ever elusive GENTLY BINDING plantract.


  5. I don't want to commit to any schedule that's binding unless I have Enrique (or whoever) around to help do the actual work. I don't mind getting whelmed, but I draw the line at overwhelmed.
    Then again, maybe I just make my To Do lists waaaaay too long to begin with?

  6. I often make a to do list for the day. It reminds of what I need to get done or should be doing and I feel a great sense of accomplishment whenever I cross something off because it's done.
    When I don't make a list I hardly get anything done.
    Also, I forget what I've done so I think I've done nothing.

  7. I'm so ambitious when it comes to following a plan, but then I start to slack off and then I just stop following the plan, any plan.

    One thing at a time.

  8. I'm such a planner! Lists - love 'em. Goals - got 'em. Now, could someone please tell the universe to go along with my carefully constructed plans?? Because somehow it never seems to work out how I think it will...

  9. I'm with Charlotte, I do the goals and lists things. Except when the universe messes them up, I tend to ignore the universe and carry on like nothing happened.

    It must've worked, because I got two job offers (personal training).

  10. There sure are a lot of sayings about "plans!"

    How many plans went undone while the people who thought of these sayings were thinking rather than doing, do you suppose?

  11. My short term memory is a cruel mistress so I must write things down, which works if I remember where I put that list.

    My to-do list is usually by the week rather than the day, I just write down things I would like to accomplish this week, figure out what the biggest priority is and start there. Keeps me from feeling to anxious about all the stuff I have to do.

  12. I don't write To Do Lists (unless you count my really long 101 Goals in 1001 Days list). I write To Do emails.

    During the day I frequently remember things that I should have done yesterday or am going to have to do later, and if I don't write an email to myself I will obliviate during the evening and forget all about it until I'm at work the next day and remember it again.

    Email is the only list I check on a regular basis, and I am my own best correspondent. The Millennial version of talking to yourself, I guess.

  13. Is that whole white shoes after labor day thing still followed? I thought that fell by the wayside a while ago.

    I don't make lists, but I do have things I want to get done. Doesn't always happen - the cooking does, the tv watching does, the gym does (if I'm teaching) and doesn't (if I just tell myself I'm going to go work out on my own. I haven't cleaned in weeks and weeks. Blech.

    September isn't any different for me than August, since I don't have kids, but I'm not looking forward to winter. Really not.

  14. I love making lists, but like you, have problems crossing things off them. And really, I work so dang hard during the week that if I want to drink coffee and lay around all Saturday so be it! :)

  15. I've got to fix my roof before it snows...
    Other than that, I think it's all relative. After painting the living room I really am not sure when I'll feel like doing anything, but there's still a list. :)

  16. I love lists too...i would be found wandering the streets walking in circles within a day if I was unable to list out my day, my week, my weekend, etc. However, I usually don't get to cross everything off.

    Love you hurricane map!!

  17. I am a to-do list junkie. Not that I always get through my lists, but without them, I would spend all my time playing computer solitaire.

  18. I have a love hate relationship with to do lists. I love the fact that once it's on paper, I can stop trying to hold it on in my head, but I also hate the fact that I always SOMETHING on said list that remains undone, for virtually ever. It's there, staring at me. Grrr!

  19. i go through phases where i am all about the to do list ... and then times where i'm like, "i think i have something to do today ... eh, it'll come to me later."

    ideally, i'd have my to do list and stick to it all the time. ideally.

  20. *looks furtively around, whispers quietly*
    I love plans. I especially love schedules, which are to-do lists with the times blocked out, too. I'm a little complusive about it.


    The reason I like them so much is because it takes away the "I don't wanna" factor for me. If I know my day starts at 7:00, I just get up and go at 7:00. I might whine and complain to myself, but I do it anyway. I am also careful to schedule time OFF. That goes into my plan, the same as the chores.

    The really nice thing about a schedule is that I get all my housecleaning done during the week, and my errands run on Saturday. That leaves me all of Sunday to actually have a day OFF (which I scheduled for), instead of running around to do stuff I didn't get to the day before.

    Sunday is now my favorite day of the week: I laze around, read the paper, see a movie, read on the couch, whatever. Guilt-free! Woo!

    *whispers again* All because of planning and scheduling.

  21. uch, my first instinct is to cry and whine about where, oh where, my summer has gone. I spent so much of it rehabbing my neck that I feel like every day was spent in PT or doing exercises to strengthen/stretch. But if I step back, I can see that I accomplished A LOT, including throwing a ridiculous number of baby and bridal showers, travelling all over, seeing friends close and far, getting some nice assignments written and fixing my broken sleep. I'm not ready to see summer go, but I am ready to revise my previous belief that it all went by in a blink. It actually lasted pretty long :-)

  22. If I get through my daily exercise, I consider my plan a success. And I only keep enough plans in my head that I don't have to write down which is about the equivalent of two plans per day.
    Exercise and _______.

  23. I just don't want a To Do list that rules my time: "I can't go play with the dog right now; I have to mow the lawn." A list that has some holes in it for spontaneous moments of joy might work.

  24. I used to be really good at keeping up with all the stuff in my head. These days, maybe age, maybe 4 little ones.....I have to make a list. I try to accomplish it, but most of the time, I save a little for later. Everything in moderation ;)

  25. Yes, I had quite a long to-do list for this past weekend. But my cat ate it. Good kitty!!!

  26. I read that post at PTB and commented, but my comment was lost and I had too many things to do to retype it ;-)

    I used to spend a fortune on planners and then have to kludge them up to fit the way my brain worked -- then I found Planner Pad. I almost didn't bother because the website was not, er, polished. But, I tell you, it's the best system I've ever used. And I do this for a living. (And this is not spam -- no affiliate link, just a passionate believer!) The trick is to make it work for you, not to work for it. And this one makes it easy and flexible to do so.

  27. I'm glad to be back at work, but I miss hanging out at home and watching Ellen in my pajama pants.

    Wearing pajama pants to work is much frowned upon.


  28. I have lists scattered all over the house, all over my computer, all over GoogleDocs, and all over wherever the hell I can lose them.

    I am a list freak. Unfortunately, I rarely complete any of them.

    Thanks for letting me off the hook. :)

    On fall, I am ready for fall foods. But not the end of summer.

  29. planning is something....execution is everything...

    It's not so difficult to follow a to do list if we check the list every two hours to track progress.


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