Lately I’ve been spending some time revamping my use of GTD and thinking about my time, priorities, and so on. I did some looking into Mind Organization for Moms, which is based on GTD, and while I didn’t buy their system, I did realize that I could improve some of my GTD strategies/tools.
I have a large dry erase board next to my kitchen, and I re-claimed it from whatever junk had been cluttering it up. On the board I now have a daily checklist for my 5-year-old son, Adam, to help ensure that certain things get done every day, preferably as early in the day as possible. Having this checklist helps Hubby and me to be on the same page about “where we’re at”; it also helps Hubby to be aware of what things need to be done (brush teeth/get dressed/take meds/put on eye patch), particularly for mornings when it’s Hubby’s turn to get up with the kids. My day gets off to a good start when I come downstairs and find that things are rolling along nicely. I am a big believer that we are both responsible for our kids and that it is not solely my responsibility to do things like give Adam his meds or put his eye patch on.
I also set up areas on the dry erase board for Next Actions (@Phone, @Computer, @Errands) and Waiting and Current Projects. In one corner I have a space for a basic plan for the day [Baths for Kids (Yes/No), Mom to Gym (Yes/No), Dinner Plan].
Overall I’m finding it quite handy to have all of these things right in front of me all the time. I still keep lists in my GTD Coordinator, and it does feel sort of strange to have things “living” in the Coordinator and on my dry erase board, but somehow it all works. It seems that I have so many interruptions in my day that by the time I open up my GTD Coordinator and find the proper page and find a pen, my chance to complete my thought is already gone and my 2-year-old is running off with my pen. Since the board is out of the reach of my toddler, and markers are always at the ready, I can easily jot down a Next Action or erase an item. (To think I used to take such things for granted!)
On the board I have my daily FlyLady list (Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry/Floors) and it’s nice to check these things off as I complete them. I have never figured out how to get these things done first thing in the morning, but they are generally my first priorities in the day even if they don’t get done until lunchtime.
In Ready for Anything, David Allen (the creator of GTD) talks about how the brain isn’t good at reminding the self to do things, therefore it’s best to have a system in place to take care of those reminders. I am finding this to be true during my daily grind: When I have a chance to work on something, instead of flipping through my mental checklist to think of what to do next, I simply glance at my board to see what remains to be done.
Granted, there is a lot more to my life than churning through a daily checklist of things to be done, but it’s difficult (impossible?) to get to the “more to life” stuff as long as I’m still wallowing in the chaos and confusion that results when the basic things are still undone.