GTD for Homemakers: A True Work-at-Home Business

GTD for Homemakers: A True Work-at-Home Business

posted in: homemaking | 8

31 Days to GTD for Homemakers & HomeschoolersWelcome to a month of practical, hands-on, and real-life organization and time management posts! I’m joining up with The Nester’s “31 Days” meme with “31 Days to GTD for Homemakers.” GTD® is an acronym referring to David Allen’s books and system, Getting Things Done. And if anybody needs to get things done, it’s mothers managing a home. So join me for the month of October as I explore how we can streamline our processes, alleviate stress, and increase productivity.

That Sinking, Drowning Sensation

I first read Getting Things Done about seven years ago or so and implemented a few of its strategies. I returned to it again almost two years ago after my fourth baby was nearing his first birthday, because four children and a lack of sleep severely affected my brain power. At the time, I had a vague notion that would help me get my brain onto paper more effectively. My goodness was I right! This book was instrumental in upping my game as a homemaker.

He is all about “black-belt” list-making. As I read it, several times I thought, “Oh, yeah! This is where I got that idea.” I slowly worked at implementing a more complete GTD® system, and every step yielded significant improvement in my peace of mind by banishing that awful, constant nagging sense of things unknown left undone and that sense upon entering any room or glancing any direction and seeing only things that you should do, but aren’t. It’s a drowning sensation, and no matter how much you do it never feels like progress is made. Sure, sleep helps. Eating the right foods & finding the right vitamins to take helps. Grudgingly, I admit even exercise really does help. But another thing that helps is keeping a calendar and a set of lists that you can trust so that your mind may rest.

Now that the birth of baby #5 approaches, I need to reevaluate my own situation and all those tactics I’ve let slide. Perhaps the drowning sensation will not be so bad this time around if my strategies are lined out ahead of time. My own implementation will be spotty until things stabilize here some weeks or months after the new baby arrives. That’s ok. Thinking it through and having a plan is still useful, even if it can’t be done 100%.

I hope you, also, will learn some new tricks and techniques to help you manage your home.

The Home is Not a Business

However, before I start, I wanted to banish any awkwardness about appropriating a business book for the stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling, or otherwise engaged and involved mom and homemaker. On the one hand, the last thing we want to do is make our homes into impersonal business offices, treating our children like employees or clients and striving for maximum efficiency. On the other hand, management is precisely our calling.

 if anybody needs to get things done, it's homemakers. Learn to streamline processes, alleviate stress, and increase productivity.

Getting Things Done is about managing your stuff and your actions, and once those are under control, your mind is left more free and clear to focus on the present moment with your family. So this series is not about shaping our homes and families to a business model, but about being in control of our tasks and stuff rather than letting it control us, so that instead of running around like chickens with heads cut off, we may be more free and calm to make the correct intuitive decision about how to handle whatever is before us in the moment.

Others before David Allen have noted that intentionality, management, and in-the-moment “presentness” is vital:

We are waking up to our duties and in proportion as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession––that is, with the diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours. — Charlotte Mason

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls ones’ ’‘real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. –C.S. Lewis .

Let us embrace our real life with our children as our true business, and arrange the peripheries to allow ourselves to focus where we ought.

 if anybody needs to get things done, it's homemakers. Learn to streamline processes, alleviate stress, and increase productivity.

Next Post: The Goal of GTD: A System Based on Common Sense

Begin your organization overhaul with a thorough brain dump. My free guide will walk you through the process:


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Our minds are so full of all the details of many lives interconnected that we often grind to a halt, unsure how to move forward.

Learn the systems and the habits to get back on track and moving forward.

Follow six steps to adapt GTD to your life at home, managing many people and responsibilities.
Follow six steps to adapt GTD to your life at home, managing many people and responsibilities.

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GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.

8 Responses

  1. Lisa
    | Reply

    Looking forward to this! I have not read the book but have it in my Kindle, on my “to read” list. I hope to be getting lots done by the end of the month :)

  2. Willa
    | Reply

    I read GTD about six or seven years ago, too. Maybe I should read it again. Looking forward to your series — you read a lot of the same books I do (I read Drive last year and really liked it)

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Well, I know there’s been more than one book I’ve read because you read it, Willa! :) It’s nice to have a reading buddy; someone who is following a similar book trail. :)

  3. You were right when you said our topics complimented each other! ;) Can’t wait to read each days’ post.

    I would never want my home to resemble an impersonal business office, but I must admit that my brain functions in a business-y type way… if that makes any sense. And, I imagine yours does, too, if you are able to take a book at business productivity and apply it to homemaking. ;)

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Yes, I am an administrative type at heart. :) But as my kids have gotten older (and more numerous), I’ve found a lot of business tactics assume an atmosphere where you have more control over your time and environment than does a homeschooling mother. We have to be responsive and roll with the punches. Mostly, we want to keep our attitudes and home atmospheres human, built for nurturing and flourishing, rather than focused on efficiency and productivity. But, that doesn’t mean ignoring efficiency and productivity. :)

  4. Christian
    | Reply

    How exciting! Another girlfriend was just telling me about this book. What a great way for me to get a taste!

  5. Elaine
    | Reply

    I feel like someone has been writing your posts just to me. I’m the mother of 6 wonderful, how be it active blessings. 1 is in Basic Training for the Air Force… the other 5 are home 4-14 and I home school. We moved into a 14×66 3 bed 2 bath mobile home just under 2 years ago and 7 people in 924 sq ft. Is intense. Thank you for the “simple” help.
    God Bless

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