Getting Things Done by David Allen has been a key source in my own attempts to get and stay organized at home. GTD is very applicable to homemakers.
I have implemented and re-implemented and revamped and reorganized my GTD processes and approaches so many times over the last six years that I’ve stopped counting. Every time I do, I am so glad for it, and so glad that it is built to work to whatever degree you are able to maintain.
After so many attempts, 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 will make it 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dump all those swirling thoughts out of your head.
Yes, simply writing it all down will help to
- Reduce stress by getting your thoughts onto paper
- Reduce frustration by assigning homes to stuff, tangible & intangible
- Reduce anxiety by knowing what you have on your plate