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  • Being a WHAM/SAHM and still getting it all done

    I received GTD for Christmas. I was able to actually read through the whole book, alternating between being depressed by the actions involved and elated that there was a system to actually get control. For weeks I have been slowly, not in one weekend for sure or any real chunk of time, adding bits and pieces of David's system. How are you managing getting the system going as a W/SAHM?
    Last edited by grace@gemparenting.com; 02-12-2009, 08:39 AM. Reason: grammar

  • #2
    Not a Mum, but not got great chunks of time for implementing either.
    The most important thing imo is not to get stuck on buckets. You know the situation where you want to file something, but your cabinet is full, so you'd need to declutter that first, and you need more files, so you need to go shop etc etc, and filing suddenly takes a month.

    So make sure your buckets are there, and easily usable/expandable/creatable. I found that once i had places for things, emptying my inbox became very easy, and therefore i wasn't as worried about loosing something in there anymore. There is nothing worse than getting stuck because there is a block in the back somewhere.
    As long as your system is not stuck it should be easy to slowly get more and more material through the process. I think David suggests to have placeholders for things like sorting your garage. You could do the same for the trigger list in the book. Things like 'mind dump school related actions' or 'review family finances'. That way you don't end up with a gargantuan next action list straight away.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by grace@gemparenting.com View Post
      How are you managing getting the system going as a W/SAHM?
      Not a W/SAHM but work and home are the same place and I didn't have much time to implement it initially.

      I started by makign sure I had a place to capture all thoghts no matter when or where I was. Tat meant making a pouch for my belt to carry a notebook, camera and cell phone.

      The next task was just trying to set up a system to clean out the paper inbox regularly. (Where I put all my notes I was capturing.) Then I added the e-mail inbox and started the filing/reference clean-up.

      I did it by doing 30 minutes at a time, modified Flylady style.

      Hang in there and give yourself time. It's a journey not a one time thing. It takes years to get the whole system and every time you think you understand a new layer reveals itself.

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      • #4
        It may take a while

        Not a mom either, but it can definitely take a while to fully implement it. I know I fall short in a few areas, but I find that if I at least keep my lists current, I'm in much better shape than I would be otherwise.

        Right now, I keep these lists with me all the time. I use a product similar to this one to keep them.

        @Call
        @Work-Computer
        @Work-Waiting For
        @Work-Projects
        @Home-Computer
        @Home-Waiting For
        @Errands

        Doing the mind/brain dump and getting clear about what you need to do and what you said you are going to do is a big part of the process. Once your brain knows it can depend on your system, you'll be much more relaxed and feel more in control.

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        • #5
          Not a mom (sorry), but I work full-time and often have people including children staying in our home (currently 2 college students), and I have two big fur kids (dogs).

          Most important thing for me with GTD has been capturing everything. Particularly at home you have these moments - walking past the garage and thinking "boy, that gutter needs to be replaced." Walking laundry down to the washing machine and thinking "I need to buy xyz at the store next time I go." Your child mentions a special band practice next week. WRITE IT DOWN. Often you're all over the place when you're working in the home, so make sure you have a notebook and pen in your pocket with you all the time. Do weekly reviews to keep from getting overwhelmed with paperwork and projects.

          Secondly, and this is NOT strictly GTD but more Flylady, I have created a list of morning, after-work, and nighttime routines, and weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly things that need to get done. Every night I take time (usually just 5 minutes) to read through my routine lists and create a checklist for the next day. I just started doing this about a week ago and it's working great - before, I had my routines written down, but I'd forget to do the once a month/quarter/year stuff, so the daily checklist prevents that.

          Every time I do something that is not on one of these lists, I think about how often it needs to get done and then it goes on the list. For example, yesterday I noticed that the baseboards were filthy, so I cleaned them and then wrote it down on the quarterly list. If you do want to do the strict GTD implementation, you would put an index card in your tickler file and move it to another month or day every time you complete the task. But I like having all my chores written down in one place, and I can hand my list to someone (husband koff koff) if I can't do it for some reason.

          I know it isn't strictly GTD to do things because it's Monday, but with housework, if you do things on a schedule it often saves time and money in the long run because it prevents disaster cleaning and repair.

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          • #6
            Implement GTD in stages

            My experience with GTD was that I did it in stages. I got my email cleaned up first, then my calendar, then my paper. After that, my projects became clearer as well as lot of the stuff that I still had to capture into the system. Take it slow and do it in stages. I agree that you need all the components set up and then things don't get 'stuck' in your inbox. I started late in 2006 and now have a complete and well maintained system but it definitely takes longer than a weekend.

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            • #7
              I am a working stay at home Mom as well (2 jobs, 3 kids in 3 schools (ranging from ages five to eighteen), volunteer commitments, wife, home, yadda yadda yadda). I read GTD about one and a half years ago and still feel like I am trying to implement the full system. It truly does help with juggling all the mayhem that comes at you each day, though scheduling time to do weeky reviews and processing is my biggest struggle, as interruptions abound. Having a capture tool with you always is essential. For awhile I got bogged down by wanting to find the perfect system with technology, as many attest to here on this forum, but the reality is, just start with the suggested basics, paper or electronic doesn't matter, and modify as you go.

              I first started with what was physically on my desk and then also did a major mind dump. I created my project lists and next action lists from these, organizing them by contexts. The key for me is to keep these lists current while not letting them grow to be so big that I become numb to them. Because my schedule is crazy busy and quite often thrown off by kids, I keep quite a bit on my Someday/Maybe list knowing that as time allows, I move things from there to my current project lists. This process has helped me be more realistic in what I can accomplish given my time constraints and allow me to either say no if necessary, or shuffle as needed. I am not able to fully trust my system yet, but am getting there with each passing week. This truly is a process.

              Glad to hear from another W/SAHM!
              Last edited by GTDMom; 02-19-2009, 04:00 PM. Reason: emoticon in place of number - oops!

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