Getting Down to Business

Getting Things Done…

While in Seattle, I picked up Mandy & Korey’s copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen. (Don’t want to read the book but wondering what I’m talking about? What is GTD? might help.) While a lot of it is probably common sense, I had a lot of headsmack moments. The first few chapters I read were so eye opening to me, I picked up a copy the day we left their house and headed up to Bellingham so that I could read more.

Now I’m inspired to try out the hipsterPDA system, using 3×5 index cards. Again, nothing revolutionary. Matter of fact, as I told Elaine earlier on the phone, I actually used to do something like this years ago. But I’m not doing it right now. Instead, I have been using the computer to keep track of projects and things I need to do – ignoring the fact that I’m a pen & paper list person, and that I need to focus on action items. Some days I’m actually paralyzed because I’m overwhelmed by looking at the big picture of things I need to do – I don’t just look at the small bite-sized pieces. This system would give me small bites to deal with, instead of overwhelming myself.

Because the point is, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for months. A few months ago, I actually had a full on anxiety attack over it. I’ve had other days with hints of that same feeling of anxiety. Wow. I never want to go through that again. So I’m vowing to simplify. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I have to do it.

While in Seattle, we started talking about where we want to go from here. How do we want our life to look.

Our first day in Seattle, I pointed out to Mike that we are both working far too much. We’re not always working “smarter” either – sometimes, we’re making more work for ourselves by not taking the time to properly deal with the task at hand. Not something that is a new revelation for me, but something I’ve vowing anew to change. I think by taking a break and stepping back from life, Mike is seeing it now too.

Next up is where we live. Neither one of us has ever loved Houston, although my parents are here, Mike has a fabulous job, I have wonderful clients, and we have the most fabulous friends here. If we stay in Houston, we want to move into the city, closer to downtown where my studio space and Mike’s office is at. Do we do that now, or wait two years for Jason to graduate? Do we stay here, or start the move process now so that Jason can be an in-state resident by the time he starts college.

Then today I came across a post on 20 great ways to find more free time – and it all came together for me.

Are there a hundred different things you wish you could do with your life someday โ€” anything from exercising to meditation or yoga to writing that novel you always wished you could write to reading more to relaxing and watching the sunrise?

But perhaps you never have the time, like most people.

The truth is, we all have the same amount of time, and itโ€™s finite and in great demand. But some of us have made the time for doing the things we love doing, and others have allowed the constant demands and pressures and responsibilities of life to dictate their days.
Itโ€™s time to move from the second group back into the first. Reclaim your time. Create the life you want and make the most of the free time you lay claim to.

Itโ€™s not hard, though it does take a little bit of effort and diligence.

For me, the time for that effort and diligence is NOW.

I can complain about how much I don’t like things in my life, in my house (there is too much STUFF! I need to purge for days on end!), things I don’t like in general. Or I can shut up and DO. I’m going to go with the latter. It is time to make changes.

I am going to reclaim my life and my free time.

There are lots of things to think about — and I’m hoping that by writing about it here, I can keep myself on track. I’m planning on choosing a day within the next month that Mike & I can sit down and have a “life plan retreat” and figure out how to reclaim our free time. And you can help me out with that too. Inspired by “Getting Things Done” yourself and have tips to share? Using the hpda system and want to share your advice? Just want to cheer me on? Trust me — I will take all the support I can get.

You know, it is sort of hard to admit all of this in such a public place, but it is cathartic too. I feel so much better just having written it out. I have a plan (well, the start of one at least), and now? Now it is time to go forth and DO.

Update: Chris Brogan just twittered about his post on this exact same subject, so I had to add one more link – his post on How to do more with less time. Some great tips in there!

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

6 replies on “Getting Things Done…”

I totally know what you mean about simplifying. I come from a family of pack rats and I got married last year and the hardest thing in our first year of marriage has been the “combining of stuff”- deciding what to get rid of and whatnot. My hubby is super understanding and knows that I didn’t amass all this stuff overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight.

Simplify as much as possible before moving! Moving is stressful enough, but to move so much STUFF is insanely stressful. If you really need to purge, I highly recommend you enlist an organized friend. My old roommate is a librarian and has her things in order. She comes about every 3 months for a day and we sort through things. I am so productive when she’s here and saying, “You don’t need that.” It keeps me form dwelling on the stuff and I get in the mode of, “This feels really good to clear the decks of all this stuff.”

Then she takes all the stuff I’m getting rid of and distributes it to people she knows who can use it or sells it at a garage sale and uses the money for beer or whatever.

I mean, I could probably sell it and keep the money myself, but it’s not worth the money to me because just by having the stuff here probably costs me money in productivity due to it being in the way and a distraction.

I completely understand — one of my goals this year was to simplify my life. Its slow going and lately I’ve been frustrated as well. I need to find a day and sit down and do this too! Good luck … can’t wait to read about your progress ๐Ÿ™‚

As you mnow, our house has small closets so Kenny & I purge the contents of one closet or the other about every 6 months. He then uses a tax progam to itemize the items we are giving to Goodwill and off they go! With the newfound closet space I can re-organize the room itself.

I also try to plan my errands, especially on the weekends, to be as efficient as possible in terms of driving (I try to cluster my errands to an area of town. I have a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge for our grocery & Target list that I can quickly jot down at anytime and head to the store with. I keep my calendar organised with my Palm desktop and have recently bought software that will synchronize it with my Google calendar so I can have it on the go with me on my phone. I am also going to take advantage of the Sprint Mobile Sync and enter not just phones but addresses as well.

As for personal time, I make a point to schedule that in, jsut like any other event. I schedule Kenny time, photography project time, dinner w/ friends time… ๐Ÿ™‚

Once you get into GTD, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. I’ve been GTD’ing for two years now and it changed my life. ( E-mail me if you have any questions.)

There’s also David Allen Co. run forums that are pretty good ( and if you feel like ponying up $48/mo. the GTD Connect membership gives you access to a bunch of information.

Thanks everyone for the tips! Elaine, you need to be careful, I might just enlist you guys to help with the next purge! Heehee!

Tam, thanks for the offer for help and the tip about the forums. Not sure if I am willing to give up $48/mo for it, but we’ll see how I feel after I finish the book!

I think they’re offering free month trials of Connect, but I wasn’t really paying attention.

At any rate, there are two free ones on David’s site. Look for posts by Kewms. She’s a freaking genius.

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