"Potential Accomplishments" and The Natural Magic of List-Making: Creating a Master~List


"All things on earth point home in old October....--Thomas Wolfe


As you probably already have guessed, I am a list~maker and leave very little to memoryIn fact, the only thing I really leave to memory is where I put my lists! I've found that lists are an invaluable tool for staying focused. My memory is on overload most of the time so I especially love the idea of a Master List of Potential Accomplishments and have long used this tactic to unburden myself mentally.

I firmly believe there is a kind of a natural magic in list~making. The very act of writing out your potential accomplishments sends a message to your central nervous system and consequently you find yourself doing the very things you want to get done!


The following list is far from comprehensive and will of course be adjusted over time, however, it is a beginning.  The mere act of writing it out has already primed my thoughts and attitude toward my goals for the month the old saying goes..."the beginning is half the end".

October's Master~List of Potential Accomplishments
(In no particular order.)

  • This month my primary focus is on home and, specifically, de-cluttering and deep clean our oft neglected master bedroom. My micro-goals for achieving this are layered and consist of a series of tasks such as bringing the extra television downstairs to replace the old one in the nook...moving the sewing machine to the spare room (I hope to set up a separate area in there, once it's been thoroughly de-cluttered and reorganized)...painting the vanity...finding another place for the extra vintage suitcases stacked atop one of the well as a thorough vacuuming via the wet-dry vac...then spot cleaning...of the carpet...using the handy, multi-purpose mixture of Dawn dish soap, Hydrogen Peroxide and water

  •  Walk a mile at least once a week...on purpose

  • Exfoliate my skin at least once a week

  • While I'm thinking about exfoliating...I need to descale the glass shower doors in master bath using a citric acid solution

  • Continue going through and organizing all my old Frugal Times: Making-Do With Dignity and Frugal Luxuries newsletters along with my collection of vintage ephemera...  eventually scan and share them via blogs

  • Post on Frugal Luxuries blog at least once per week...try to write ahead and set to automatic post if inspiration strikes

  • Go over Christmas List and budget...prioritize purchases...begin shopping

  • Make a final list of holiday gifts I will be making myself and then write out a time line/step-outs for creating them

  • Turn over and feed soil in planters (if necessary, spray again for mites)

  • Make list of what herbs and greens I want to plant (and decide where to plant them) plant the seeds or buy transplants from local nursery

  • Do research on pavers and the like for our back patios as the concrete has tilted to crazy angles due to the ground settling in an odd way...find prices and compare...make a final decision

  • Keep a look-out for small, shallow garden shed to use as a potting shed (within our budget) this will help free up space in the garage for Mike (we will be able to keep shovels/rakes and other garden tools in the shed) and at the same time offer storage for all those necessary odds-and-ends that are making it look so cluttered

  • Continue to work on implementing my 'Daily 100'  (this is where I do minimal of 100 crunches/sit-ups and/or isometrics focused on the abs and lower back muscle groups).  Don't be too impressed yet...I'm only on my fourth day so far!

  • Finish mending the slipcover for the sofa in the kitchen

  • Paint the inside of two armoires in the living room...then reorganize them to be more efficient when putting all their contents back into place

  • Repair, paint and reorganize glass cupboard in kitchen (thin out excess via Craigslist and/or donations)

  • Find light fixture for kitchen (above island) have it available for the electrician to install when Mike has him in to look at other items

  • Fix broken glides and order handles for the kitchen drawers (decide if I want them for the cabinets as well)

  • Sand and then repair the small area next to sink in kitchen.

  • Do full inventory and organization of large pantry cupboard in kitchen

  • Order extra filters for the water filter

  • Make jelly for the pantry using seasonal fruits from the farm stands

  • Spend an hour each day (Monday through Friday) working on de-cluttering the spare room

  • Continue helping Rosie sell extra clothing and the like on eBay

  • Spend one afternoon or morning shopping my closet for cooler weather outfits

  • Clean out one large cupboard in garage

  • Go through Christmas/Holiday decorations and thin out...sell on Craigslist and/or donate

  • Make our seasonal (Autumn) menu list to choose from for the next few months (begin by planning to use items in our freezer and pantry)...remember to keep in mind Mike's lunches as well

  • Begin thinning out my massive book hard to do but a must as they are taking over our house :)

  • Listen to the audio version of those history books I've been wanting to read...also...catch up on my this while working on the de-cluttering (and other) projects.  Note: I play the movies on my computer or iPad and then carry it around with me as I work around the house

  • Put out autumn decorations 

  • Begin re-reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings...I soak up the wisdom buried in this book and try to re-read it every few years, however, because it's so very long, I find it works best to read it in increments (I like to call them "bites").  If time permits...I'll read one chapter each morning during my quiet time and another each evening before going to sleep.  I often implement this strategy when reading larger/longer books as doing so gives me something to look forward to...I find myself thinking about the story and the characters throughout the day...a true frugal luxury!

What are your goals for this month?

As October is the month I'm focusing on home I thought it was appropriate to scan and share this form from one of our old newsletters in the 1990' was also a part of our manuscript for my book  Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons.  Please feel free to enlarge and print it out it if you'd like to try it for your own personal use.



Lorrie Orr said...

That's a really impressive list, Tracey.
I like making lists, too. Keeps me on track and focused.

Diana said...

I use lists periodically and sporadically -- I'm pretty good at simply listing ideas and goals like you have done in your post -- but not so good at getting things actually done! In September I tried moving items into a "3 Most Important Things" list for each day and found . . . that putting something on the 3 Most Important Things list almost guaranteed that it did NOT get done! What's up with that?! It's almost like I go out of my way NOT to do the things that I really need to get done -- which is why I put them on that list to begin with. Of course, I guess they are not that critical, in that the world didn't come to an end when I didn't do the things on that list -- and in fact I end up doing many of the things on my main list (the Not the 3 Most Important Things for This Very Day list).

It's a mystery.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hi Lorrie...hahahah...yes it's a monster list...I always OVER-list and inevitably not everything gets accomplished (that's where the word "Potential: comes in handy...relieves the guilt of not doing everything. ;) That's another beauty of the master holds the thought for me as I transfer those unfinished tasks to NEXT months' master-list! :)
P.S. Loved your post on October!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

So funny Diana...a mystery indeed...I suppose it's our human nature (we tend to be contrary creatures). I guess I just use the list to put the ideas in my head so that when I feel as if I'm wandering around wondering what...of the many things that should be done...I should start with. Usually it's the thing that's the easiest or the one I'm looking most forward to. In October's list that's going through the old newsletters and ephemera. The good news is that once I start usually keep moving. I guess it's that old law of thermodynamics " a body in motion stays in motion"!!!
Anyway...judging from your blog it looks as if you get plenty accomplished! Your garden is amazing.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Your list reminds me of the kind my daughter makes. I remind her there is NO WAY she can do everything on her list but she likes having everything she wants to do out in the open and listed. :)

I fortunately finished the big items I wanted to get done by the end of September. For October I want to start some needlework projects and it is the time of year I begin to get serious about deeper reading again.

TLOTR is definitely on my must read list this fall-winter.

I'm having eye surgery a week from Friday so between that and a possible freeze this weekend, my To Do list has to be getting all our lawn and garden pre-winter chores accomplished. I'd rather be reading. :)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

You are a good mom Brenda. :) My list is definitely ambitious! Like your daughter, I like the list to bear the burden of remembering for me!

I've read that computer use lessens the ability to deep read.. that's why this particular book was chosen. It exercises the brain. I'm looking forward to seeing your reading list!

Tracey xox

P.S. I'll pray for a perfect outcome for your eye surgery.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Oh goodness! I make lists and forget to look at them. I'll take my grocery list with me but not look at it till I get ready to check out. Which always means that I have to go back for something :) My daughter has been going grocery shopping with me so I put her in charge of the list.

You're so organized!! I try to be and have my moments. :)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I know what you mean Manuela...I was only half-joking when I said the only thing left to memory is WHERE I keep my lists! :))) In fact, like you, I often would forget my grocery list so now I just put the lists on my iphone and they are with me regardless of my gift of absent=mindedness. I guess that's why I find lists so useful, once I write things down I know I'll be able to re read them and remember later! Also, I use sticky notes for small lists (like when I send Rosie to pick up Costco basics for us) and tuck them on the side of the frig. It also helps that Rosie is so naturally organized as it rubs off a bit! I've been calling her my PDA since she was 12 (PDA standing for my Personal Daughter Assistant :). get a LOT accomplished without remembering your'd never happen for me without the lists!!!

Storybook Woods said...

Dang girl, I need a nap just reading your list ;-) I should be a list maker but sadly I am not. You have inspired me though. Clarice-who needs to exfoliate my bathroom xoxo

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said... funny Clarice!'s for the entire MONTH not just a day or a I hope it keeps me on track! So far I've only accomplished a few (and adjusted the daily 100 to every OTHER daily 100 hahahah) of them but I keep picking away (and I still have three weeks left!).

Terri said...

List maker...I don't make nearly as many lists as I used to but I think it's just because I organize them now, lol.

First reading of your list, I got down to the one about culling books and my instincts said "Nooooooo!" Truth: I have desperate need of a new bookcase, even John is looking for a well priced one that sort of matches what we have. I have culled the books, they are stacked in the bedrooms, lol, and what I want to keep or haven't yet read are stacked on the shelves in FRONT of the other books I want to keep.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Well...I knew we were kindred spirits Terri but your remark about books stacked in front of other books truly clenches it! It is sooo hard for me to let them go, thus the culling never seems to get done as it should. I usually just assign myself five to ten books to pass along...and choosing those is a painful process!!! If I had my way, the walls of our entire house would be lined with bookshelves...some with doors (to look like walls) and some open to enjoy just looking at the books! While I have a kindle and an ipad (both gifts) I do love my paper pleasures!

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

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