Getting More Done, in Less Time…
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is an amazingly popular book for one very good reason. It is an organization system that actually works. No organization system can live up to all our expectations, mostly because we usually try to do more than we ought to do. So, how do we get better at “Getting things done?”
- Expectation Adjustment: Are your expectations of your time realistic? Do they reflect your values? Unrealistic expectations of ourselves, our family and the world is the first dragon we must slay. Strangely some areas are over extended, and some we don’t challenge ourselves enough, pray for discernment.
- Properly organize and process all input successfully…and that is were Getting Things Done comes into play. A place for every idea and every idea in it’s place. A place for everything is the hard part! Mostly because everything includes things you don’t yet know are coming. The important thing is to have a system that will capture, sort and store anything and everything. My new planner has places to capture and store important thoughts and lists.
- Just Do It! The system should include a plan to implement all actions that have been processed. We can do more when we are organized, then when we aren’t. Better yet, after going through these steps, the actions you take will be the actions you “intentionally” take.
*The GTD system also suggests to group tasks into locations, i.e. home, car, work, church… This grouping will more efficiently use your time, if your tasks are scattered over locations. You can use different color highlight marks to designate location sensitive tasks. I go so few places (small children) that this doesn’t yet apply to me (there will be a time in the future).
Planning helps us intentionally do and be all God created us to be. It can helps us examine if our values are reflected in our To Do List. The GTD system can help us look at a more efficient process of sorting and storing information. I hope the GTD flow chart will help you understand the process to taking action. Get a planner that can capture and organize your ideas, ultimately helping you be intentional with your life. If you homeschool, I hope my planner can be a help to you in this process of being all God has called you to be.
How does this Work-out in My life family?
Materials: homeschool planner, gmail, and notepads/pencils (strategically placed)
Optional: ipod touch (for podcasts and notes)
- Family Calendar: Our family calendar is on gmail’s google calendars. This is ideal for us because my husband(at work) and I(at home) can share the calendar. We can both access it and it can be color coded for each person. If you have older children, they can access it too.
- Homeschool Calendar: My homeschool calendar is in my planner. It is also small enough to go with me, so that I can capture dates on the road and transfer them later.
- To Do Lists: Two of my to-do-lists are in my planner. I break it down into my
- “Shopping lists” (grocery, non-household, 30 list (thinking about)) and
- “Daily To Do list” (always start with an action).
- E-mails are also a “to do list.” Often I am waiting for information to get back to me. This is a very good place to create a “waiting folder.” Gmail allows you to do that. They also allow you to star things in different colors or designate certain emails to go directly into a designated folder. It is preferable that your email in box be kept at zero. Folders are amazingly helpful with that.
- Quick Capturing System: Capturing input is about catching it and placing the information in a safe place until you can process it. There are many ways people capture data, i.e. phone numbers, recipes, dates and thoughts. Narrow down the places you put your data.
- Most people have a note pad by the phone. With mobile phones, it may be more difficult, but put a note pad by the area you are usually seating in the house. For me, it is by my computer in the school room (which is next to the kitchen).
- Recipes go into a notebook in my kitchen. Since I am always thinking of new recipes the notebook is an arms length away.
- Out and About: I am rarely out, but when I go a capture system has to go with me. Since if I am out, I my more likely be by myself, meaning my brain will be more likely to think of new ideas. I use either my ipod touch (notepad) and/or my homeschool planner. I made the planner small enough to go with me.
- Homeschool Planner Project List: A Project is a plan to get something done that has multiple steps. Those steps are tasks that will go on the to-do-list. The project can be something that you want to do soon (place the next task in on the to-do-list), or later, or someday (really later). The planner has a place to both capture and process project ideas. All things that require multiple steps are projects. If the project is small enough, it could go directly on your to do list. Other wise use the project plan. I will discuss the project planner in more detail in a later post.
- File for Someday:
- Someday Project: Every now and then you come across something that really interests you, but it is just no the right time in your life to exercise that type of project. You should file it in a someday maybe filing system.
- Long-term Reference: For homeschoolers, a reference file should be in place to catch future homeschool material.
- *When ever possible this should be kept electronically, in a well organized hierarchal filing system inside your computer.
- *What ever you want to capture, needs to have the device and all that is needed (notebook and pencil, ipod that is charged) at arms length.