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Using GTD to do laundry

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  • Using GTD to do laundry

    Is there a way I can use GTD to get my laundry organized?

    This seems to be the one area in my life where I'm always falling behind. It's a mess.

  • #2
    It's a fair question. While I don't have laundry in my GTD system, I do have some other daily tasks that I should remember, but often get overlooked.

    In my case, I'd simply add it as a daily (or whatever timeframe works best for you) recurring task. On the appropriate day(s), it shows up in your NA list and you get it done. It should help.

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    • #3
      In theory, GTD could help with laundry, but pure GTD would rely on you to instinctively know that the Laundry project was high-priority whenever you looked at your Next Actions list ... which is probably not feasible.

      That said, *a* system can help you with your laundry. First, I'd start with a tiered laundry basket (with sections for whites, brights, and darks).

      I'd make it a daily habit (however you do that -- post-it note by your bed, string around the finger, list, email reminder) to check if any of the compartments are full enough to run a load, and then put it in the wash. (This may be a morning routine or a right-before-bed routine.) Now your "next action" is to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer when they're finished; I'd set an alarm for the length of the wash cycle if it doesn't have its own loud beep. Move to the dryer, then your next action becomes "fold and put away" clothes which again can be triggered by an alarm, or you can make it a daily AM or PM routine to check the dryer for clean clothes.

      I'm primarily a business efficiency consultant but I do some one-on-one work with Type-A personalities, too, and I've observed that it's easier to keep on top of laundry if done in smaller chunks throughout the week than it is to designate, say, Sunday as laundry day. However, your mileage may vary.

      Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        Once a week. Has to be finished by Sunday night. With that in mind I often get it started on Saturday morning (about 4-5 loads) so it's not a scramble Sunday afternoon.

        I used to hate doing laundry. Now I love it for these two reasons:
        1. I mean come on -- all the work is done by the machine. Get it all sorted, then all you have to do is toss it in and turn it on. Then you can get back to the rest of your awesome life while it does it's thing. How sweet is that!
        2. I used to wait a while to fold laundry. Now I plug in my ipod and listen to an audio book or music while I fold. Now those 20 minutes are relaxing and enjoyable.

        Like DA says --- sometimes you just have to trick yourself.

        And if laundry is your minds biggest problem....you're doing pretty darn good.

        Ryan

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        • #5
          I've mentioned it before, but flylady.net is a great system for helping you get through household chores like laundry. I got to a point where my laundry basket was permanently empty, just by putting a load on every morning before I went to work, hanging it out to dry when I got home and putting the previous nights load away.

          Flylady focuses on creating the routines that allow you to do the little stuff without having to think about it, and using a control journal to put those routines in place. I think it compliments GTD brilliantly, as you end up having "check next actions" in your routines.

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          • #6
            Not to be didactic

            Not to be didactic, but have you defined the outcome you want? What would a successful outcome look like exactly? All laundry washed and folded once a week? Have you defined a goal and constructed a plan by working backwards from that goal? What is the chain of next actions that would move you forward toward that goal? Would a context be a helpful tool? Have you placed any passive or active obstacles in your own way? (And, given that this is the ONE area of your life where you’re not keeping up, are there any tools from the other successful areas that you can bring to bear on this problem?) The problem isn't clearly defined here in the post – have you defined it clearly enough for yourself to begin thinking productively about solutions?

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            • #7
              Use your calendar to remind of a laundry day.

              Comment


              • #8
                Echoing Dan: what defines it as a mess at the moment? And the opposite, how would it look when it's no longer a mess?

                If you want to get formal about it, try applying the natural planning model.
                eg.
                Vision: Enough clean clothes to wear on a regular basis.
                Principles: not a burden, easy to do, environmentally friendly.
                Possibles: hire someone, have easy care clothes, own similar clothes so sorting and half loads are minimized etc.

                That's just a starting point. There are lots of other principles and considerations. Can other members of the family help? Is money an issue? Space? (for a machine or for storing clothes for that matter) etc. Is it just a lack of habit? Is something making workflow unnecessarily difficult?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cojo View Post
                  Is there a way I can use GTD to get my laundry organized?
                  What's the mess? Can you just add a recurring task to your system to do a load?

                  FWIW I've had a similar problem, I used to do laundry first thing in the morning whenever we had a full load, hang it up to dry after breakfast and fold it next day after lunch. We don't own an automatic dryer so laundry hangs on an indoor drying rack and jeans can take 8 hours to dry. This worked great and I never really forgot stuff unless I had several loads to do at once.

                  Then we installed a solar hot water system. For efficiency and best use I really need to wait to do laundry until mid afternoon when the solar system has the most heat in it so I am not using propane to heat the water. It's screwed up my whole system and I find myself picking clothes off the dryer rack to wear because I never got around to folding them, or worse, having to rewash a load I forgot in the washer. It sounds silly but what I am doing is I take the laundry down in the morning and put it by the front door. Then when I come in for lunch it's right there and I go put it in the washer before I eat. I also set alarms on my cell phone to remind me to deal with the laundry. I'm trying to build a new laundry habit and it's slow going. So maybe you can use some similar tools until you get the habit set the way you want it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's how I personally would approach it, step-by-step:

                    "I want to get my laundry done. Okay, what kind of project is it? It's not a one-time thing, so it's not a Project. It recurs, so it should go in my Tickler. How often should it recur? Every week. When? Well, I like having all clean clothes for work, so I'll say Sunday. No, wait, my Sundays are kind of busy sometimes, and maybe I won't see the reminder immediately, so let's say Saturday.

                    "Okay, pulling out a piece of paper...and I'm writing on it, 'Run all laundry (every Saturday).' Next Saturday is the...16th, so let me slip it into my tickler file for the 16th. Great!"

                    When the 16th rolls around, the paper comes out, and I add a Project, "Run all laundry," with an Action of "Pull laundry out of closet."

                    With practice, you may not need the Project. For example, once I've started my laundry, I don't need any further reminders--the buzzing of the washing machine and dryer let me know what I need to do next. So, if I were to see a tickler reminding me to do my laundry, I could just start the laundry, then I could put the tickler reminder away for a week.

                    Does that help?

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                    • #11
                      I would add that time management and GTD as well is all around "What and when you want to be reminded of ... {laundry}"? Then it will remind you And YOU have to do it. Just DO it. There's no simple ways around. DO!

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                      • #12
                        Ok, here's the mess:

                        Clothes end up all over the bedroom floor. Why? Because I don't have a hamper in there. We have a hamper, but it dead-ends in the basement (see below). I start the washer in the morning and go to work. I get home at about 9 pm. While I'm gone, hubby puts wet laundry in the dryer. Then after it is dry, he puts it back into the hamper (without folding or sorting it). Then he brings more laundry downstairs (in his hands) and repeats the process. If he can't find another hamper or basket when the clothes are dry, he dumps the finished laundry on the floor. Since he also dumps dirty laundry onto the floor, dirty and clean laundry get mixed up with each other. I come home, am unsure what laundry is clean and what is dirty, so the next morning I end up putting whatever clothes I find on the floor into the washing machine, and it starts all over again.

                        Hubby gets angry at me when I fold and put away his laundry, because "I don't do it right", but lets his own laundry sit in baskets for weeks. I have tried creating a rule that only 2 loads of laundry can be in "the laundry process" at a time and all must be put away before starting another one, but he just continues putting laundry wherever he feels like. Right now there are six huge baskets of wrinkled laundry in the basement and multiple pieces of laundry on the floor.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think you have a process project here

                          I think that the project here is "Set up laundry system" or "Establish laundry routine". Actually, these could be two separate projects. Once you have the systems in place (an organized laundry closet and laundry baskets where they need to be), you would establish a routine or schedule for doing your laundry. You want to get your laundry closet and systems as organized and finely tuned as you can to maximize efficiency while you do laundry.

                          Come to think of it, your dirty laundry is much like your "stuff" in GTD. You collect it into inbaskets, process the inbaskets (empty pockets, treat stains, etc), organize the clothing into discrete categories (dark, lights, brights, delicates, etc), review the piles, then you do it according to your context, time, energy (laundry is a good activity for when you're brain-dead), and priority (biggest personal payoff...very high if you're out of underwear right now ).

                          This is a pretty interesting thread.

                          Luke

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                          • #14
                            It sounds like the situation is hard to control for you, as you are away all day.
                            As for storing dirty laundry: i usually have big baskets for containing dirty clothes, and one transport hamper. The big baskets never leave the bedroom.

                            It sounds like your hubby is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to folding. No one (probably not even him) can fold his laundry right. Hence he doesn't do it. Because that stage of the laundry process never happens, it gets stuck there and things pile up.

                            Not entirely sure how to solve that problem though. It's a lot easier if the offending party is the one not at home.
                            Do you ever catch the laundry when you get home? Could you just fold yours and leave the rest for your husband to fold? I know it sounds rather passive aggressive. How much have you talked about the problem with him? Make sure you communicate, whatever action you take. Maybe treat it as a proper businessy planning meeting. The home's Board of directors so to speak. If you do reach a mutual agreement and he can't stick to it, that's another issue of course.

                            All in all it sounds like a home management issue, rather than a personal productivity issue. I hope that picture makes sense

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                            • #15
                              gtd to do laundry

                              if you need to use gtd to do laundry, there is not much hope for you i am sorry,

                              forget what all above has written,
                              do like this:
                              1) use a bag (not to big) to put you dirty slothes in
                              2) each time you change clothes put used in the bag,
                              3) when the bag is full, put clothes in washing maschin add soap, close the lid, press start. alternatively, make a reminder on your cell phone, that beebs and say do laundry at a fixed time each week

                              Thats it

                              its redicolus to use gtd for laundry, I know there are people who check a database to see how many clean socks there are left.

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