Productivity, Priorities, and Preferences

I’m a failed participant in at least two productivity schemas–GTD and Flylady most recently.  I’ve been trying to think about why I failed at those programs and what would be the best approach for me.  The thing is, in my work life, I’m pretty darn organized.  I make lists.  I plan well in advance.  I keep a good schedule.  I communicate with colleagues when necessary.

On the home front, things are less organized.  I had great plans a year ago.  And while I kept up the pace for a while once school began, all it really took was a couple of longer than normal days to throw me off.  I didn’t stress about the home front, however.  I just let it go.  I kept things at a minimum level I could deal with (which is pretty good).  But now I want to simplify.  I want to purge the stuff that I don’t need.  I want to remember to make those appointments (and remember when they are after I make them).  I don’t want thoughts that I might have forgotten something disrupt the work I need to get done.

There are things from my previous failed attempts that I like, and that I think are doable. Taking 15 minutes to declutter an area is completely doable.  Making lists (sometimes while decluttering) is something I’m good at.  Getting the rest of the family to pitch in? Hit or miss.  So I’m going to try to do just those two things this summer.  Declutter in 15 minute intervals–even if it’s just once a day.  Make lists.  Cross stuff off the lists.  Relax.

7 Replies to “Productivity, Priorities, and Preferences”

  1. I failed the Get More Done program. Now, as we move into a new house this week and my stress is at an all-time high, I too want to throw it all out. What better time to embrace minimalism?

  2. I’ve been doing GTD for a year now and it’s absolutely changed my life. So much more organized, less stress, etc. It’s easy to fall off the wagon though. I think the secret is the Inbox. You’ve got to put EVERYTHING in there and process it regularly.

    The weekly review is also pretty helpful but I’ve always been a list guy so my brain likes though.

    As far as moving forward, my policy is to try and get at least one item on my list checked off daily. It’s amazing how much better I sleep at night : )

  3. The base concept that FlyLady is based on (tasks to be done daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and the ability to skip it once or twice before HAVING to do it, is appealing to me. So far, it hasn’t worked out.

    I’m SO with you on the lack of success in getting buy in from family. The level of chaos that bothers me is much higher than I grew up with, but a magnitude lower than what bothers my husband or daughter.

  4. “The level of chaos that bothers me is much higher than I grew up with, but a magnitude lower than what bothers my husband or daughter.”

    I think this is a real breakdown of all of these systems, not having buy-in. It’s one thing to keep regularly cleaned up if you’re in charge of the space. The promise of all those systems is having a system in place and working regularly, rather than having a mass of chaos that takes hours to clean up, doing the occasional massive clean up and then having everything revert to its chaotic state almost immediately (’cause of that whole entropy problem).

    If you don’t have family buy-in to the system, then you’re faced with cleaning up after everyone (crisis management) rather than maintaining and that’s not the promise of the systems.

    My ideas for family buy-in? Well, my daughter actually likes having a clean space, so for her, it’s a need to understand the system and regular maintenance. My husband doesn’t care enough about clutter to do daily maintenance. Haven’t figured out the son yet. So, the hope for buy-in is different for each of them. My daughter I think can learn the system. My husband I just have to give up his spaces and isolate them from my spaces (with buy-in, and me cleaning up in the common spaces).

  5. For me, with GTD, I’ve learned that my wife is not a good project manager unless she is interested. If it’s a project she doesn’t feel interested in she withdraws completely. So… I manage all of the family-related projects now. I make the phone calls and the reservations and put together lists and spreadsheets. I give my wife small associated tasks that I know she will enjoy, I tackle the less pleasant stuff and together we move forward.

    For day-to-day, again (not to beat a dead horse) it’s all about the Inbox. Our daughters each have one and so do I. My wife’s is more of a spot on the counter where her stuff lands but it’s close enough to an Inbox to work.

    I really want to get my oldest daughter, 16, to try out one of these systems before college. She’s unorganized at best and we hold her hand too much with multi-step responsibilities. This won’t serve her well in college.

  6. bj–indeed. My kids do kitchen cleanup, but it’s not always to my standards–counters don’t always get wiped down, something doesn’t get put away. Sometimes I can live with that, sometimes not. Mr. Geeky lives in his own little world. I’m trying my best to isolate him. He won’t even go through the mail. At least he puts it in the same place. Every once in a while, he says, “‘We’ should do some cleaning/organization.” It’s all I can do not to scream. I just clean anyway and hope he follows suit.

    Mike, boy I hear ya on the 16 yo. My son is 16 as well and it’s all about immediate gratification. We have to constantly be on him for homework, etc. And if it’s a long-term project, no way does he want to start early. He likes the computer, and I’ve tried to get him to use the many tools out there, but alas, it hasn’t worked. If you figure something out that works, let me know.

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