Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getting Things Done at Home

I am rereading David Allen's Getting Things Done -- which apparently I read first in 2006.    I decided to give it another look because I've been reading Mystie Winckler's GTD for Homemakers and I realized I had forgotten a lot of the details of the system.

Anyway, reading the book, taking notes, and applying it to my organizing system has been my main project this last week or so.  

Since I only have 15 minutes I'm just going to take a photo-walk through some things that are helping me right now.     If you aren't familiar with the terminology, GTD in 15 Minutes might be helpful. 

Collecting (ideas, tasks, etc)

My notebook and a bunch of pretty paper that I never knew what to do with (mostly acquired at thrift or dollar stores or at Michael's on sale) -- I use these as collection or capture tools.    Basically, I either write it down in the back of my notebook/journal as a thought or to-do comes up, or I grab a piece of paper and write on it, then put it in my inbox.

1.  Processing collected items

My folders -- I have an "active" folder for things I have to do, a homeschool folder, and a "projects" folder.  

Here are more folders -- one I call "scripts and routines" for checklists -- procedures I try to follow that aren't completely automated yet.    Also there is a "someday/maybe" folder for nice ideas that don't have a time frame, and then behind those there are monthly folders which are called in the GTD system "tickler files" meaning that you put things in there that are going to come up at a certain date that you don't want to forget about.  ... say, buying tickets for the Shakespeare Festival, or your child's patron saint's day. 


This is the inside of my "active" folder.     Instead of having 43 folders as Allen recommends, one for each month of the year and one for each day of the month, I have 12 monthly folders, 5 weekly folders and then inside my action folder, I have envelopes for the days of the week.  I put small cards and notes in there as things come up.   If anything doesn't fit in the envelope, it can easily go in the folder itself.   

I've had some sort of filing system for years.  I borrowed a lot from Dawn's File Crate System.    But I never knew quite how to use the monthly files, so rereading GTD is helping me with that.

Allen recommends the streamlined look and feel. ... the best file cabinets you can afford, brand new manila folders, a label-maker so you can print out nice labels for the files.  But though I would do it that way in a workplace, my "work at home" mode requires personalization and that means for me, using what I have already around the house, and figuring out ways to make things colorful while not sacrificing efficiency.    

I am sure this is a bit confusing unless you have just read Getting Things Done, or even if you have, but I am out of time for today!   


  1. I like your personalized version. I hope going over everything again and remaking all the stuff will be helpful!

  2. If you’d like a tool for managing your time and projects, you can use this web-application inspired by David Allen’s GTD:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.


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