GTD isn’t GIAD (Getting It All Done)

posted in: homemaking 3

So, I ran the 31 Days to GTD series here two years ago, then consolidated and edited it into a manageable ebook. But, lest there be any confusion, GTD is so very different from GIAD. It is only things, not ALL things, that are being done.


I recently received a question (and I’ve several similar ones before), asking what we all want to know. It seems like a question that should have an answer, if only we could read the right thing or ask the right person.

My question I guess is how does homemaking fit in? When does it get done? We have really pared down our stuff, which helps greatly with house maintenance. Do you have other ideas on how to fit in food prep, house maintenance, etc?

And, if you’ve ever tried asking someone that question, then you are probably familiar with the standard answer: “No one gets it all done.” So, what do we do with that? Does that mean “give up now”? I used to take it that way, throwing up my hands thinking, “Well, then what’s the use?!”

~ cough ~

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Giving up makes it all worse, not better.

But just being told that “it never gets all done” is usually more discouraging than helpful. So here’s how I try to look at it:

One area of life is covered more for awhile, then attention shifts to a different area, and there’s give and take over time. It’s about recovery and touching everything over a period of time, but we’ll never have it all “figured out” and running on autopilot.

I finally realized awhile ago that it was the desire to have life running on autopilot that was at the root of much of my “get it all done” frustrations. Running smoothly on autopilot is what is never going to happen. Keeping your bases covered, each in their turn, not stressing over those that have to wait for awhile, can happen.

This has been a break week in our year-round school schedule. Taking a break every six weeks has been a sanity saver for me. It’s when I catch up on housework that got ignored during school days, when the kids get long stretches of outdoor time and free play with friends, and when the kids and I pull out projects we’ve been wanting to get to.

I do most of my big batch cooking on Saturdays: granola, bread, yogurt, something for the freezer to make the week run a tad smoother. And I’ve pared down my cooking so that none of my dinners take more than 30-45 minutes of my time and are made from my master pantry list, so I don’t have to spend brain power on the grocery shopping or menu planning. We spend about 20-30 minutes 2 times a day on housekeeping, and having older kids (8+) who can significantly contribute has made a big difference, plus my husband works regular hours (at home!) and helps out, too. However, if a chore doesn’t happen during those times, or those times get skipped, it might not happen for a few days (or weeks). We can keep rolling and we’ll get to it. Take a deep breath and keep on keeping on.

Running a house while homeschooling means coordinating a lot of moving parts, and those pregnant or nursing with all-young children are in a significant growth point. I found that stretching times like those increased my capacities, slowly and over time, even though in the moment it felt like utter disaster. Hang in there. There is a lot of simply coping and adapting happens in a house full of littles, and there isn’t a perfect formula for getting it all done.

Here is one thing you can try, if you need to quiet the crazy-making voice that might be whispering in your ear. Write down and prioritize all the “I should” statements that run through your head. Cross off as many as you can. Decluttering what your subconscious (or conscious!) mind feels obligated to do is even more calming than decluttering physical stuff.

All decluttering and all organizing and all managing is always a process, and it often feels crazy. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting it wrong.

3 Responses

  1. Heather
    | Reply

    Loved this post. My desire to have everything running smoothly on autopilot has also caused me considerable stress. All the pressure to GIAD is entirely self-imposed, so it’s very helpful to me that I have a husband who will gently tell me that I can’t get it all done, and helps me to prioritize when I feel overwhelmed.

  2. Lisa
    | Reply

    Great reminder! I’ve learned that when I give myself permission to be imperfect (especially in the post partum period), I end up accomplishing so much more than I thought possible.

    Another thing that has helped me is to think of homemaking and school and life in general as coming and going in seasons. Winter is a season for being indoors and focusing on the house, summer for being outside and letting the house go a bit too focus on the garden etc. Right now I’m in a season of daily messes and dishes and hungry kids, but the time will come when they’re on their own and my house can be immaculate (I think I prefer the mess and kids!) There’s a season for planning and a season for doing, there are so many ups and downs that come in cycles and it’s best to just do what’s in front of me right now.

  3. Carolyn
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for this reminder. It’s okay not to get everything done!

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