How do you know what you should be doing?
How do you know what you should NOT be doing?
Do you base your decision making on how you feel at any point during the day, or are you intentional and focused on what you do each day? Is there a plan you are following, or does your free spirit repel that idea with a vengeance? How do you organize your calendar, projects, email, and other input that comes at you daily?
Do they even teach these skills in school now?
As a young high school student in the 80s, teaching life skills and time management was assigned to a single home economics teacher to briefly cover in one week. I think we actually had to bring an egg home and “take care” of it all week, bringing it back unbroken. WOW! That was how we were taught life skills in 1986. I’m hoping a lot has changed, but by the looks of some of the young people that come in and out of our home, I do not think that is the case.
How do you organize your day? Do you feel like the minute you wake up, that you are swept up into a tidal wave of ‘to-dos’? Or do you have a system in place that keeps you on an even keel, pro-active, and not re-active?
These skills were not taught in my school. Procrastination was the norm. Social schedules always took priority over school assignments and family commitments. Being raised with only one older sibling, I was the only one affected if I put things off. Fast forward 25 years, and I am surrounded by 9 other people who are all affected by my actions. Time management is not just a want…it is an ESSENTIAL NEED.
When I had one child, l felt like I still had some of my teenage liberty to be lazy if I wanted too. My husband worked so I could lie around in my pajamas, nurse a baby, and channel surf till lunch time and really no one except God and the infant would know.
When the second child came along, things became a little more challenging. How am I going to nap now if there is a toddler running around? It was challenging, but not impossible. I could still be a free spirit and go with the flow. I could still control the day.
Once we were outnumbered, I realized that God was going to need to teach me how to organize my days better. I needed His help because I was losing all control.
Our current family logistics have me on my knees every morning because now life, multiple cars and schedules are all things I KNOW I can’t control.
About 4 years ago, I was introduced to a radical book called Getting Things Done, by David Allen. The book literally changed my life. I had been reading self-help books since the day I first was married because I needed someone to show me how to DO life. I had never developed daily disciplines to run my own life, let alone run a home. As a new wife and mommy I cried out for help. I sought out help from the experts like Kathy Peel, Elizabeth Elliot, and Emily Barnes. Little tidbits would be gleaned here and there, but I was still drowning in all the responsibilities of life.
When I read Getting Things Done, the light bulb went off, and I knew that I had found a solution. It wasn’t written by a mom, it wasn’t even written by a woman. Instead, it is a system that a MAN figured out who teaches it to executives, CEOs and moms all over the world. It is a system for workflow management that really WORKS!
I bought the Audio version of the book, listened to it many times on my daily walks, and began to change my thinking and implement the system. The GTD methodology works, it’s nothing difficult, but actually quite simple. It helps you organize input in a systematic way. The GTD model has 5 steps. There are flow charts you can order and hang up on your office wall to help you remember the system and work through the process, but after you have done it awhile it becomes second nature.
The Five Steps are:
The answer to the question, how do you know what you should be doing can be found in GTD when you understand the 3-fold nature of work. This system will help you organize your projects, manage lists, get your email to zero, define what your next action is, and create an external source you can trust for everything that is in your head. When you can ‘empty your head’ of all the things you are trying to remember, it frees you to be much more creative. Though GTD is comprehensive, for my personal method I added in the weekly compass taught by Stephen Covey.
At the end of each week I start my review with a weekly compass, then I empty my head and review my four key lists and horizons of focus. Life is still complicated and challenging, but I no longer feel out of control and undisciplined. Projects are brought to completion, and stuff just seems to get done!
For more on Getting things Done, check out www.gettingthingsdone.com, or check out the book below from Amazon!