Applying GTD at Home

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So, I’m done with 31 Days to GTD for Homemakers. I thought I would finish up the series with examples from my own implementation (also written two years ago – [grin]). Keep in mind that I wrote the GTD series two years ago and, before writing it, had been working at applying it slowly and steadily for about six months. On top of that, I had read it and picked up a couple tips 3 years before that, and my lack of order the second time around stemmed primarily from lack of sleep and the resultant lack of brain-power; my house was already decluttered and only at a normal, still-functional level of chaos. I slowly but surely improved — and felt loads better — but had also started getting enough sleep by the time I was done implementing a GTD setup, which helped probably more than even GTD practices.

Still, I think it has value, and I think incorporating it piece by piece over time is a better approach for getting it to stick than doing a weekend whirlwind makeover. Just like weight loss, slow and steady means it’s more likely to stick than if you get on a crash plan. Don’t let a slow pace discourage you. If you’re working at it, it’s ok to make it a goal for the year, not the week or the month. Personally, I will be making another go at following my own advice in the series in January, assuming I have had a healthy postpartum recovery time by then.

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The GTD Process in Homemaking

When your set-up is in place, you’ll have one or more lists that you work from daily to keep up with the maintenance of your home — daily and weekly cleaning tasks, upkeep tasks, and one-time tasks. If you go all the way, you’ll have “Keep Up with Housework” or something of that nature as part of your big picture view, and with it will be your vision of what that means.

The GTD Process in Homeschooling

In setting up schooling stuff, you’ll primarily need places for all the papers. Where should the children put papers you need to look at? Where do the papers go after you’ve looked at them? Where do books belong? Where do pencils belong?

And, if anyone has any magic for getting kids to then put their pencils back so they can find them the next day, please tell me your secret. Sigh.

What needs to happen to plan and prepare for the day, the week, the term, the year? Figure it out once, write it down, and go off that list every time. I don’t know how much time I’ve wasted just staring at my computer screen or box of books and papers thinking, “Ok….I need to deal with this. What is it that I do again?” No more! Of course the list will be continually tweaked and adjusted, but adjusting a plan is so much easier than coming up with the plan all over again every time. Particularly when I write out my plan for planning as a blog series. :)

The GTD Process Personally

One benefit of maintaining order and organization is that it frees time and creative energy, so that we have more inner resources to broaden and improve our own persons. Some of the areas I’ve thought through and included in later “brain dumps” is personal beauty & health, hobbies, my own education, friendships, and hospitality. Writing it down with concrete ideas means some of these areas are actually receiving real action and not just occasional stress-inducing, “I really should….” thoughts. It really does help a lot!

I know the whole “me-time” issue is a hot-button issue in mommy circles, but for myself I feel like it’s defused. It is not a question of two warring sides: selfishness v. self-sacrifice. It seems to me that most “controversial” writings on both sides are simply reactions to the other sides’ extreme, and thus both miss the point. There is no one-size-fits-all method to being a person and a Christian before being a wife and mother (i.e. not placing all your identity in another person) while losing your life (giving it away to others) in order to find it. But you can’t give what you don’t have, and you need faith and energy and creativity. But there are no easy answers as to what the right mix will be for each person and situation; it takes individual wisdom and examination.

I like the way Gregg Harris put it in this sermon: Get a life, then live it with your children alongside you.

What I hope is that this process and system will make life more joyful for being less stressful and more creative for being less chaotic.

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  1. Dan
    | Reply

    For implementing GTD you can use this application:

    Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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