Seasonal Bucket List – A New Way to Talk the Quarterly Action Plan

After retirement, some habits just do not die. You learn that some of those habits you really do need!  I’m a planner.  Most days, I need to have things on my calendar. I am learning to enjoy the occasional non-scheduled day, but too many in a week and I get a bit antsy.  So I need plans and checklists.  Writing things down seems to help me get items done.  

For years, my work habit was a Quarterly Action Plan, jointly agreed to with my boss and checked on regularly to make sure the top things were moving forward. Since you can re-name things (and our lives are full of euphemisms), my work-based Quarterly Action Plan is now a life-based Seasonal Bucket List. Sharing is a great way to stimulate some accountability; so sharing my seasonal lists on my blog has been helpful. It’s not the boss who’s checking on if I’ve done things (you-all are much less demanding!), so there is much less pressure, but still some accountability.

In previous Seasonal Bucket Lists, I’ve bounced between specific action-item lists and more generic themes.  My most recent winter was themed with seven broad areas given our big plan of being snowbirds for the first time. There is something to be said for “broad themes” as all elements were executed to some degree! 

  • Continue regular self-carewith morning journaling, beach yoga, regular beach walks, biking, and staying connected to my blogging buddies.
  • Work on local friendship creation – successfully!
  • Dofun foodie things– new restaurants, food tours in St Pete/Tampa, cooked new recipes, shopped at farmers market and boutique food stores.
  • Take some mini-adventures– Sarasota day trip, Dali Museum, Flea Market, Raptor Fest, Kite Fest, Sunken Gardens, etc.
  • Continue with my play-with-words & addiction-to-lists: Crossword puzzles. Begin 2019 New Things List. Finalize book publication. Continue blogging weekly.
  • Enjoy our space. Set up table for jigsaw puzzles (did 2!); rearrange the back room for more regular usage.
  • Be spontaneous& open to new activities – see above plus multiple wine-with-friends.


When doing a new seasonal bucket list I always refer back to my Personal Possibilities List.  This year, I am also working on my 101 New and/or Fun things for 2019, but have slowed down in execution since coming back north from snowbirding. Life basics are in place (morning journaling, weekly yoga, weekly Zumba, walks with friends, regular theater dates, etc.) but I do need to start planning some more new and/or fun things!

I had too many ideas at first, so I blog posted (see link) to see what friends might suggest.  It was more fascinating to see what folks picked as it related to them than me, but I did take the voting into account on my final choices.  First off, all but 2 of 19 ideas got at least one vote. Two ideas got 6-7 votes.  But as I have the complete power of choice, I’m not listing the total results.  I did love the suggestion about balancing the choices in mind/cerebral, body/physical, and soul/spiritual.   Here are my final Spring Bucket List areas:

  • Out & About Mini-adventures with Friends – combining the physical + tourist in own town: Zoo Blooms/Eden Park hikes, Yoga Hike, SummerFair, Mid-week Foodie Club dinners (new places), OTR Food Tour, Mid-day Movie date, plus plan 2-4 more things (Art Museum, spring gathering, soccer game?)
  • Explore a new “Big Project” – a balance of the cerebral/physical: work on the book promotion, do some Artist Dates to explore ideas (ex. take a real dance lesson), explore YouTube Wire Wrap – jewelry/shells (finally), finish needlepoint project, join a book club, and explore more writing opportunities
  • Continue to explore Personal Spirituality– explore more meditation experiences, read some recommended books on spirituality, continue to explore Tarot cards.
  • Daily Living– spring gardening (Civic Garden plant sale), spring cleaning, household repair scheduling, plan & cook new recipes (recipe file organization, Easter dinner), finish taxes, self-care (portion control, health checkups, daily movement, journaling, yoga), and physical therapy.

This list is definitely a more specific once again so I will see how it goes.  My word this year is journey as in:

Create the Vision. Plan the Path. Live the Journey.

I think I’ve got a good plan for living the retirement lifestyle I’ve envisioned.  Now it’s onto living and appreciating the moments – both the planned ones and the unplanned ones.


And as part of the Book Promotion Big Project: my Retirement Transition book is available on-line both through Amazon (link) and Barnes & Noble (link)!  If you haven’t already, please check it out.

Picture Credit: Me – Winding Waters in Iceland December 2018

37 thoughts on “Seasonal Bucket List – A New Way to Talk the Quarterly Action Plan

  1. After watching my parents waste their retirement years by not using their opportunities, your approach is great. I think everyone is different though and to do lists and plans aren’t my thing after 40 years in the corporate world. Instead it’s about rediscovering my creative side squashed by the corporate culture which doesn’t exactly encourage creativity or individualism. So I’ve learnt piano, improved my guitar playing, began to write, travel more, moved to another country, learning a fourth language, improving my second language and so on. It’s now about doing what you enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Pat,
    I’m enjoying NOT having lists and an agenda. We have some informally; they are not written down, but we talk about accomplishing them together and make a plan. Does that count.
    And, I’m very hard on myself-particularly when it comes to my blog. I am already feeling guilty that I have missed a couple of Fridays that I tried to commit to regarding healthy eating posts. The world is not ending, or anything like that, but I said I’d try to keep to that schedule and already have not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, My goal is once a week blog posts but I never beat myself up if I miss one. This is all about having fun! I’m beginning to think a lot of my planning is like that – suggested things to do, but flexible to change. And I’ve learned however, that if something is not written down, I totally forget about it. Sigh. Hubby is not a planner at all, so it is up to me to remember things! I know lists are not what every one needs…. but they work for me.


  3. I like your slogan. It’s a nice, logical progression and makes it easy to see the connection. By the way, I have just started reading your book. 😉

    I am on some sort of an in-between plane with regard to planning. My wife and I share a calendar and every activity undertaken alone or mutually is on that calendar so we never end up in some finger-pointing about calendar conflicts.

    I also maintain an extensive list of everything I want to do in an app called Toodledo that syncs across all of my Apple devices. However, I rarely plan in detail what I am going to do (beyond scheduled activities) on a given day. I know that, weather-permitting, Wednesdays are lawn-care days in season. Otherwise, I just do mostly what sounds good when I get up that day. There are “urgent” items that are not on the calendar that must be dealt with, but they are fairly rare. Mostly, I follow GTD (Getting Things Done) principles for choosing what to do at any specific moment.

    With regard to spontaneity, that is a bit of a sore subject. I am very much for spontaneity and would love to just take off on a day trip when the mood strikes, but we have two dogs and we are slaves to their needs. If we want to go for longer than 4-5 hours, we have to put them in a kennel and that takes planning ahead. We have decided that we are dog likers, not dog lovers. These will be the last two we own, partly because of the drag on spontaneity and partly because they are so darn expensive to care for correctly.

    My one BIG project is getting my woodworking shop in good order. I have been making some decent progress while also working on projects in the same space. However, I have not actually written out a detailed plan and I am feeling at this point that it might be warranted if I want to finish before I am 80. Ha ha. So, your organizing inclination has inspired me to put pen to paper and come up with a concrete plan of attack and a timeline. We’ll see how that works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob, You know, that phrase brings me a thrill – I’ve started reading your book! Thanks!

      I understand the dog situation. I’m pretty sure this is our last one, but I said that previously…and she’s only 7, so quite a few years to think and re-think that. I’ve never been very spontaneous anyway. I’ve had to learn to accept that about myself and still take a moment of spontaneity and go for it. I had a surprise lunch out today – a text from a friend this morning and it fit into both our calendars! Of course, Tim was home with the dog.

      I’ve also realized that I am being more flexible with the plan as things happen – bad weather, a text from a friend, an opportunity arises. And that’s good too. My plans are rarely in stone anymore… much different than work plans and meetings you had to attend!

      You’ve been taking about organizing your shop for awhile now. Maybe a concrete plan is a good thing. As I’ve mentioned below, there is a good sense of accomplishment from checking things off!


      1. I spent an hour this morning putting together all of the shop-related work (with priorities) in Toodledo. Now comes the execution!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As you well know, Pat … I am also a planner and journaler. However, I never quite learned the business side of planning and I do like this idea of quarterly action plans. I am going to pin this for future reference (while I make my way through the A-Z challenge) and then begin to develop one of these focused plans for June – August (my first quarter being officially retired). I’m excited to put your idea into practice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly, And I lived with quarterly action plans so long that my first 2 years they even were called the AMJ plan, etc . (that’s April May June business quarter). I like seasonal better. Just an FYI, my first few plans also linked to my values and my life vision, which helped me get some new habits started. As I mentioned to Sue (below), I also appreciate the ticking off component as a feeling of satisfaction!


  5. Hi Pat, I’m a planner too and each morning I start with a coffee and my diary. I plan for the day and also take time each day to plan for my blog. I love having a day where I do nothing but I prefer to be active most of the time and have projects on the go. I believe it keeps us vital as we age. Your seasonal bucket list is a great idea and gives you something to look forward to, work towards and then feel the satisfaction of experiencing it and ticking it off. Have a great week and thanks for sharing at #MLSTL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, you are right about the tracking component. The satisfaction of ticking things off is a big part of my list-aholic tendency! I do enjoy days when I’m on the go, but I have found I do need a day or two a week to “do nothing” – read a book, catch up on blog thinking/drafting, sitting quietly on the porch. It’s a balance, isn’t it?


  6. I always like how organized you are, Pat. Your Quarterly Action Plan reminds me of a monthly report I had to write to my boss. As a way of remembering ongoing projects, I used to list all of them at the end with a status even if nothing had changed. This wasn’t a requirement; it was just something I did for format purposes. So as a joke, I sent one about a year after I retired to my old boss with a list similar to your own. He wrote back, “I hate you! 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, Were you still in the working world when it became a “3 big rocks” plan? It was supposed to focus you on the big, important things. It didn’t because all the little things still had to get done. Anyway, my last 3-big-rock plan was 1) be more pithy (I was always verbose – you’ll have seen that in my blogging) 2) plan to retire, and 3) see #1. I believe you’d appreciate that. 🙂 Maybe I should send my old boss my current Quarterly Action Plan? Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This “Create the Vision. Plan the Path. Live the Journey.” absolutely resonates with me. You can’t have one without the other, right? I know so many that don’t have a plan. They haven’t even created the vision. What do you have to push forward to if you don’t? I have a vision. I’m working on the plan. But for now, I’m living in the now (with secretively planning my retirement adventure). 😉 It all takes a lot of time and planning, right? I admire your list! Thank you for the inspiration! #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bren, You are so right. There’s a great Alice in Wonderland quote that I have in my recently published book that goes something like…. where do you want to go? I don’t know. Then it doesn’t matter which direction you go in. (totally paraphrased) I’ve always been a planner and had to accept that fact in retirement. So many of the retirees I met were all about freedom and open days. That was hell for me. There is living in the now – enjoying the journey – but for me there is also a vision and an intentional plan. Flexible plan, but a plan. Learn what works best for you, and stick to it. My hubby hates a plan… and he’s more than happy to take days as they come. (I need to watch out over planning for couple things!).


  8. Pat I’m always impressed with how intentional you are in all you do. I’m still adjusting to having more time on my hands, but the days do seem to fill up quite easily. I’m trying to keep at least one day a week as my ‘at home in my pj’s’ day. I’m referring to my new light cotton pj pants as “lounging pants” to make me feel retro rather than lazy! I’m glad you’ve sorted out your priorities and have a workable plan in place (and lots to blog about in the process!) The wire jewelry thing will definitely be fun.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I’m not yet to a full day in PJ’s but it sounds like something to strive for! Coming to terms with being a planner has helped me be OK with it….so many folks talk about freedom in retirement being an open calendar, but I’ve found I need the intentional planning. I’m actually amazed at people who can survive without it!


  9. I love this Create the Vision. Plan the Path. Live the Journey.- it sums it all up beautifully!! I like to have a few things on the calendar but also some free and easy days too. It takes a while to get it all sorted out but I’m feeling quite comfortable now 🙂 Great to read of your progress! #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love that mantra – it really works for me – combines both the need to be planning & (somewhat) in control, plus the reminder to enjoy the process. I’m still working a busy day job so can’t achieve anything without lists, but I also have my own projects too – and they deserve just as much accountability as I give to my work ones. As an aside, I’ve tried to sign up for emails of new posts & it hasn’t worked so will add you to my wordpress list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo, thanks for persisting to follow me. Unfortunately I have no idea how to fix it to have you get emails…beyond my social media capability! I have noticed recently I am having more issues linking with folks not on wordpress, so maybe it’s a not-so-good part of the new wordpress upgrade. And good for you to give as much to your non-work projects! I never did that… it was all about work for me. So retirement came as a shock to the system.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m as compulsive with my Apple phone calendar now as when I was working. It’s my schedule and my to-do list. At least these days its full of (mostly) fun stuff. Sounds like your planful nature is still working well for you in retirement!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am also a planner but mainly the details. I think I need bigger goals to work with to ensure my detailed plans fit into something meaningful. My reading and cross stitching challenges have definitely provided that but I think I need more.

    I’m with Janis – I can get stressed out with too much going on as well. But that’s mainly things outside the house. I have a million things going on inside my house (and in my head)!!!

    Good luck with your plans!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. One of the things I have done is link many of my activities to my “bigger picture” goals which are based on my values and longer term lifestyle vision. Not all, and I do have some time wasters in there that I just enjoy, but many things are, so that helps me stick with them. And I get that my level of planning might be on the high side, but I’ve found it’s needed for me!


  13. We plan ahead for vacations (Cape Cod and AZ this summer; SC in the fall), and for our classes; but otherwise, we’re pretty loose. On a weekly basis, I’m scheduled up on Mon., Tues. and Wed., but completely free Thurs. thru Sun. I think I need to plan another day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom, I had a chuckle about “we’re pretty loose” followed by “I’m scheduled up M-T-W”. I guess my plans are more in the pretty loose camp … today I have a 4-mile hike planned, but if it rains, we’ll cancel. I do have a few regular classes and theater dates, but again, if something happens, those too can be cancelled or moved! Maybe I am even more “pretty loose” in my calendar than I thought. Hah!


  14. I can relate to Janis’s comment. I get very stressed if too much on my calendar or to-do list. I agreed to give a talk to nursing students for a friend who is an instructor at a local college and I awoke three times last night worrying about it – the talk is in two days. I’ve prepared but didn’t do a power point and now I think I should so I’m stressed about that! There are times when I probably need to add more structure, though, so I don’t ‘float’ through my days accomplishing very little. I hope to find my balance as I adjust to this new lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly, You WILL find a balance! Give yourself time. I had to learn that yes, I like a schedule and a plan and a to-do list – that’s what works for me and I shouldn’t try to be different
      However, you and I sound so different. I’m thinking of doing a talk about my book, it’s not even scheduled yet, and I already have a draft powerpoint done. LOL. I think because by putting something down, I don’t wake up worrying about it. And yes, a talk is just a figment of my imagination right now.
      But, give yourself time, explore having a schedule or not, see what works for you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Alice, It took me awhile to realize I did need it. My hubby hates having anything scheduled, but me, I nee to see things laid out. I try to be very flexible with things though, and not worry if something has to move or be cancelled.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You and I are exact opposites. If I have too much on my calendar, I stress out. April is filling up and I’m getting nervous, even though many of the items are fun. I guess it all comes down to whatever works for the individual… and it sounds like you have worked out your personal action plan nicely. I’ll be over here working on my inaction plan 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL. My hubby is like you so I totally get it! It took me quite awhile to be OK with still having lots of plans in place. I thought I was supposed to be all spontaneous and unscheduled. Ack. The biggest thing for me is to be flexible with it… like today’s rain, so no gardening…it will wait till a sunny day.

      Liked by 1 person

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