As a work at home mom (life and career coach) with three children, ages five and under, who is also a partner with my husband in a web business (Sojo Solutions) and who runs a community of support for entrepreneurial moms (The Enterprising Moms), I have a ton of stuff to wrangle, and itâ€™s been completely out of control!
Many moons ago, my friend Jen recommended David Allenâ€™s book, â€œGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.â€ At the time, it sounded like it could be helpful, but I was in the process of developing yet another system of my own, so Iâ€™d check it out as some point.
Many more moons later, I was still struggling to wrangle my stuff, and getting a little desperate. Work was picking up all in directions and the state of my stuff was costing me in time, money and pure psychic energy. My countless experiments in time and stuff management were no longer functional. And I no longer had the leisure of reinventing my systems every three to four months, just for fun. (I had discovered at some point along the way, that I really like to create systems, but wasnâ€™t so good at using them.)
After being haunted for weeks by things I feared might be slipping through the cracks, I made a choice to take a different approach. I ventured to the bookstore on a quest for â€œâ€ and have been hooked since. Itâ€™s like Allen has taken all of the various iterations of my â€˜systemsâ€™ â€“ the lists, spreadsheets (color-coded; time-based; grouped by task, subject, or context), outlines and mind maps, paper planners in all shapes and sizes, electronic planners in several flavors, and web-based tools â€“ and culled them into a usable system. I usually shutter at the thought of subscribing to anyone’s ’system,’ but not in this case!
The system isnâ€™t simple, nor is the process of setting it up. In fact, given all of my competing demands, it will take weeks, if not months for me to implement in bits and pieces â€“ as opposed to a few dedicated days as he suggests, to gather and process all of one’s stuff.
Still, Iâ€™ve noticed that even small bits have had a big impact â€“ Iâ€™ve maintained a zero-count in all of my email in-boxes for almost two weeks! My attitude towards my stuff has improved because Iâ€™m putting structures in place to tie up loose ends that used to dangle freely in the wind. And getting organized has helped me to be more productive with family life, household things and work. My work/life balance is shifting to a more comfortable place, and I love it! The ripple effect is pretty cool.
So, stay tuned. As I make my way through the book and implement the system, Iâ€™ll be sharing more about my progress as I go.
In the meantime, some food for thought:
Where have you gotten stuck, doing things your way, despite less than satisfactory results? How might a new perspective and some fresh ideas shake things up?
Now, go stir the pot!