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Implementing GTD - Harder at to Implement Home than at Work?

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  • Implementing GTD - Harder at to Implement Home than at Work?

    Hi - I've been using the GTD system for about two years and it has been absolutely valuable for me. Like everyone, it has taken take to master - I love David's last newsletter with the belt levels.

    I've found that I'm having a harder time implementing it at home than at work. At work, I'm mainly a greenbelt who glimpses into blackbelt land every now and then. At home, I'm much further down the scale. For example, this weekend I threw out a good $75 worth of expired coupons for services and products that I used during the period I had them. I didn't structure myself to remember that I had them in the right moment. Or maybe I need to decide to not use coupons at all.

    Is that true with the rest of you out there? What are your challenges and how have you been overcoming them

    I think the challenges at home are:
    * lack of a good physical space - we have an office, but it is removed from the main living area, so I tend to resist using it - and it is very small
    * more interruptions - especially with little children!
    *a lack of deadlines

    I'd love your thoughts.


  • #2
    I'm much weaker at keeping up with the weekly review at home than I am at work. Sometimes it feels as though the entire house is an inbox, so it can get overwhelming.

    Things that really help:

    a usable filing system. Mine's in need of a purge right now, but I love having solid drawers that don't wobble. (The aesthetics of the cherry wood also help me enjoy filing. ) Speaking of enjoying filing, I have a labeler at home and a labeler at work.

    Really making the next action be the Next Action. I have a harder time, for some reason, making myself think through the home-oriented next actions so that they are not amorphous blobs of undoability.

    A Flylady tip, not a GTD tip: use a timer to break up dauntingly long tasks into 15-minute blocks. I can do anything for 15 minutes -- even mop the kitchen floor.


    • #3
      Yup... home is harder

      In addition to the reasons already listed, I think the real issue with GTD @Home is that you have to get buy-in from the people you live with for it to really work. I'm the master of my work domain but not so at home! It doesn't matter if "process" incoming bills on receipt if my wife buries them in the pile of stuff in our Inbox (also known as the kitchen table).


      • #4
        mochant wrote:
        It doesn't matter if "process" incoming bills on receipt if my wife buries them in the pile of stuff in our Inbox (also known as the kitchen table).
        At least you know where to look for them.


        • #5
          GtD At Home

          I am also struggling somewhat with using GtD at home, although we are getting better. My first step was to introduce GtD to my husband! He's not a big reader so I borrowed the CD from the local library. Now he is hooked, and is slowly working through the book to get all the details that were left out of the CD. This has been most helpful, since we now use the same language (What's the NA? Is that your project or mine?) and approach. We also make sure that once a project has been identified, it belongs to one of us - individual NA may be delegated but the overall responsibility for driving through to completion is with the one person.

          I have all of my life's projects and tasks in my PDA-based system. Projects are flagged as Work, Family, Home or Personal. NA are of course context-based and include tasks from all categories of projects. On Friday afternoons I conduct a WR of the work-based projects and objectives, then finish the personal/family/home side of the WR on my own time.

          We also identified that our "home office" is not very usable - at least partly because of all the junk on the floor in front of the filing cabinet. (Yes, "Clean Up Home Office" is a Someday project.) I bought one of those heavy plastic file boxes from Staples, and we store that on a shelf in our family room (beside our family computer). It keeps our tickler files, active project files, and a file for each month's "financial" mail (bank statements after they've been verified, bills after they've been paid, etc.) At least the files we need to use on a daily basis are readily available. We also have a nice sturdy wicker basket (approx 9"x12"x12" deep) that we use as our in-box, which is also stored in our family room.

          The general reference filing is still a mess, but once I can get to that upstairs filing cabinet . . . .

          Our biggest problem is finding the time and/or energy to actually "get things done". After working all day and caring for small children, there is only that small window of time in the later evening to address all those NA. I've recently challenged myself to choose and complete one large or two small @Home tasks each evening. This is helping.

          We don't list the household "routine tasks" in our systems. We have a paper-based family calendar (week-at-a-glance Daytimer) on our kitchen counter. I've created a "daily routines" checklist which fits the Daytimer binder, with morning tasks on one side of the page and evening tasks on the other. Each page has seven columns for checking off the task each day as it is completed. At the end of the week we just toss the list and put in a clean one. We are still tweaking what tasks are on the list, but this approach has made a big difference in the routine stuff. Because it is on a page that we can both easily see and use, we can each look at it to see what is left to do and check it off when it is finished.

          I hope that some of the above gives you some ideas on how to make your home GtD work a bit better for you.

          Claudia Straka


          • #6
            I think having a home office makes a huge difference. I did for me. It doesn't even have to be an 'office' per se. A lot of people don't have whole rooms they can designate in that way. Even a corner in the kitchen, devotedly entirely (and solely) to 'office' activities could work.

            I started out using GTD at home first. So I actually had the opposite challenge of then implementing GTD at work. I'm still working on it, both places. We tend to think soo differently about work vs. home issues, but I think they need to be dealt with in a more similar way than we realize.

            My problem at home is probably deadlines as well. A lot of my 'at home' projects are decorating in nature. There's no deadline for that. So they stay on my Someday/Maybe list FOREVER. My SD/MB list for home is HUGE. And never gets any smaller. At work I'm constantly shuffling things from projects 'coming up' to 'current' to 'completed' and I feel a sense of accomplishment. Not so at home. For me, it's learning to deal with all the SD/MB's in life and realizing I can't do everything. What's really important? (rhetorical)


            • #7
              Hi - I'm the person who did the orignal post for this topic. These are great idaas. I think home projects tend to be have greater extremes than work - emorphous blobs of undoability (what to do about putting my daugher in preschool next year) or very specific, but very repetitive tasks that you need to remember at the right time (take clothes to cleaners).

              I think a next first step for me is to shape up my physical space - at least get a tickler file in my in box processing area. A labeler at home is an essential.

              Thanks for your input.