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  • GTD Home Management

    I've used GTD for almost two years now at work and had a huge amount of success with it. Since then I've been preaching its benefits to anyone who'll listen.

    I'm on a one week vacation right now, and after hearing David Allen speak (online) about how important it is to use GTD at home, I decided to finally take the plunge and start using GTD to manage my home life.

    So here's what I ended up with - a daily list, a weekly list, a monthly list, and a quarterly list. This is all stuff that has to be done on a regular basis, including everything from vacuuming weekly to putting down the proper stuff on my lawn four times per year. When you combine them all, it's a big list.

    My solution was to schedule each task to a different day of the week. For example, today is Thursday and I have to vacuum the living room and music room and the stairs, and clean inside of the furniture and under (we have small kids.) Even the quarterly stuff is scheduled.

    Everything is on a calendar and it's quite manageable. When I showed my wife the total list of everything I'll be doing, she said she'd be impressed if I can actually get everything done and keep doing it. She doesn't use GTD, by the way. I can't convince her to try it... but if Oprah suggested GTD she'd probably try it. Anyway...

    So I've got a workable system and I like it... but I also realize that putting stuff on a calendar for a specific day when it doesn't really HAVE to be done that day violates GTD principles. My reasoning is that I HAVE to bust the tasks up over several days or it's too much to do on any given day.

    Is there a better way that anyone else is using, or am I cool in my approach?

  • #2
    Ckeck FlyLady.com to get ideas.

    I do not have things in the cleaining in Hardlandscape as you just put it there (wednesday vaccum) because really if I do not vaccum nothing will happened, so I have a certain things that get added to my list every week about cleanning based on the ideas of the flylady.com

    I am sure will be useful

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    • #3
      That's www.flylady.net and your system sounds very much like hers (assigning specific tasks to a specific day of the week).

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      • #4
        Oprah and GTD

        If Oprah mentions GTD:
        The books will disappear--even from Amazon.com
        The Connect server will explode
        David Allen will quadruple his income overnight and retire -- and we won't get any more cool interviews, articles or ideas...but maybe Meg will step in and run the show. From what I heard of her on the audio, she ROCKS!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rmaclema View Post
          My solution was to schedule each task to a different day of the week. For example, today is Thursday and I have to vacuum the living room and music room and the stairs, and clean inside of the furniture and under (we have small kids.) Even the quarterly stuff is scheduled.
          I do something similar, but instead of putting it on the calendar, I put it on my Outlook task list with due dates so they don't show up until it's time.

          Using Tasks preserves the hard landscape of the calendar, while reminding you of what you'd like to do.

          Ditto on the Oprah comments...that's a huge untapped market.

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          • #6
            My routines

            I found myself vacillating between too much structure and not enough structure when it came to routine tasks that we all have to do around the house. Scheduling specific things to do every night was great for awhile but in the end left me procrastinating since it seemed as though I was never enjoying the clean house that I was striving for.

            What works for me is to have a "night" for the types of routine tasks I have around the house, and then just work off of a next action list just like DA recommends. For me, Monday night is cooking night, Wednesday night is cleaning night, Thursday night is errand night and Sunday is outside chore day. I keep a context called "@ cleaning" and add tasks for that week to it during my weekly review from my big routine list.

            I find that if I break things down into small enough chunks, then I get through it all and can go about enjoying my life instead of worrying about cleaning all the time. Also, using the next action list allows me to add things in response to my environment- for example, I was walking around barefoot last week and noticed that there is a sticky spot on the kitchen floor. Even though the kitchen floor is not due for a mopping for another few weeks according to my routine, I put it on my next action list under the context '@ cleaning' so that it got mopped last night. Mopping the kitchen floor meant that I didn't quite get finished cleaning the guest bathroom, but I chose that the sticky spot on the floor was more important than the hardly used guest bath for this week and just let it go. I don't have to even have to look at the next action to 'clean guest bath' until I'm ready to clean next week because I can filter out that context on my list and don't have it nagging at me.

            All that said, if what you've got works for you, then use it!

            Mindi

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            • #7
              Unfortunately when it comes to housework I get stuck at the second phase of Workflow Mastery:

              1. COLLECT - make a huge list of what needs to be done

              2. PROCESS - is actionable? yes.

              ....then DELEGATE it to the wife

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              • #8
                Clarkey, you're a brave, brave man ...

                I'd never get away with that one!

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the replies, folks. I'll check out flylady.com.

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                  • #10
                    I'll second the Flylady suggestion, but what I do with those lists/routines once I have them is to input them into Life Balance as NAs, with the frequency set to "routinely" (whether that's daily, weekly... etc). That way they don't show up on the calendar, but they do show up on my lists, and if I don't check them off on the exact day, no big deal, they hang around waiting. When they do get checked off, they show back up in the correct interval.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mindi View Post
                      Also, using the next action list allows me to add things in response to my environment- for example, I was walking around barefoot last week and noticed that there is a sticky spot on the kitchen floor. Even though the kitchen floor is not due for a mopping for another few weeks according to my routine, I put it on my next action list under the context '@ cleaning' so that it got mopped last night.Mindi
                      Good system, Mindi -- but I'm curious. In that particular instance, couldn't you have grabbed a paper towel, run it under the faucet, added a little scrubbing powder, and gotten rid of the sticky spot in less time than it took you to modify your next action list? Just wondering. I'm sure this would be very efficient with tasks that take more time to perform.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Day Owl View Post
                        Good system, Mindi -- but I'm curious. In that particular instance, couldn't you have grabbed a paper towel, run it under the faucet, added a little scrubbing powder, and gotten rid of the sticky spot in less time than it took you to modify your next action list? Just wondering. I'm sure this would be very efficient with tasks that take more time to perform.
                        I'm sorry, I didn't explain the example thoroughly enough. It was very late at night and I didn't even have the light on in the kitchen. The sticky area was right in front of the fridge where I had spilled a soda a week before. Since I had already cleaned the area once for the spill, I knew it needed a more thorough cleaning than a dishrag would provide, so I just added it to my notepad that I keep next to my bed. I really like having a "capture tool" by my bed specifically for those thoughts that creep into my head just before I go to sleep. Before GTD, I would have worried about them, now I just capture them and get to sleep quicker.
                        The next morning I was at work, so I added it to my '@ cleaning' context and forgot about it for the rest of the day. Once I was home, changed from my work clothes to my cleaning clothes, I was ready to tackle all the cleaning next actions I could do in the time I had between dinner and bed. The kitchen floor popped out as something that was more urgent than some of the other routine items since my fiancé’s mother is coming over to cook this weekend, so it was a natural first choice from the list of cleaning next actions.
                        I definitely agree that little things like wiping up a spill do not necessarily need to go into your system, unless there is a reason you can't do it right then!

                        Mindi

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for your generous description, Mindi. I think you have illustrated very well the use of the UCT and the NA list, both in your physical setting and in your home-and-work situation, as well as your creative adaptation of GTD to your own circumstances. May we all do as well.
                          Last edited by Day Owl; 04-06-2007, 07:49 AM.

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                          • #14
                            I've been starting to use the tickler file for household things - things that repeat themselves in X days or weeks. I write down what I did and note about how long it took me. Then I think How soon should I do this again? I put it in my tickler for about that time. Then if I need to change that day I can move my tickler card to the next day, unlike a calender entry that is supposed to be fixed. I'm only doing that with things I don't do routinely already and things where I overestimate how long it will take me and so I procrastinate it. I've found myself surprised again and again that a lot of those household things I put off really don't take all that long once you decide to do it.

                            Juno

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                            • #15
                              Side note - So it's Friday today and I'm home on a one week vacation. Tomorrow, Saturday, is a day I schedule a lot of stuff... get up, go the Y, come home, do all the yard work, then go get groceries... it's been my routine for quite a while (like a year.) It's ingrained, it's habit. But today it's really nice out, not too hot, and I'm sitting around the house bored. I could get my lawn work done today, and not have to do it tomorrow. But I don't FEEL like doing my lawn work today. But I feel guilty for not doing it today when it could free up time tomorrow. If I do it today, I'll be glad tomorrow that it's done. So I'm going to do it today, as soon as I'm done typing this post. But it still FEELS funny.

                              My thing is this - I don't like doing any housework at all, but I know it must be done, and the easiest way for me personally to do something is to commit a day and time to it, and then just do it. But one of the "cons" to this approach is that if I do stuff out of sequence it bothers me. Still, the house work is getting done whereas before it wasn't. Before about all I was doing was the lawn...

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