Getting Things Done

I’ve been slowly reading through David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity for months now.  It’s by no means a page-turner, but some of the ideas in it have really revolutionized my life.  (I do wish I had purchased a physical copy, however.  It’s difficult to navigate on a Kindle, as I’ve made a million highlights.)

To wit: I now keep a Word document permanently open on my desktop, titled: “The Art of Getting Things Done.”  It’s a table in which each box is labeled with every category of my life: Hendrik; Ailie; Family; Photos; Communications; Gifts; Personal Care; MBA/PhD; Writing; Mom’s League; Library Board; Car; Home; Healthcare; Financial Freedom.  I try to review it each day (though of course, I sometimes fail).  Each time I think of something that needs to get done (for instance, under Gifts, in caps: SEND THAT WEDDING GIFT TO A VERY SPECIAL BLOG READER AND BFF) or a brilliant idea, I jot it down under the appropriate category.  Even if I am unable to get to it right away, it’s out of my brain.  Lord knows there is precious little space there.

Allen advocates a “natural planning model” that I’m trying to incorporate into my goals for the total mama makeover (and eventually, my career trajectory).  It goes like this:

  1. Defining purpose and principles.
  2. Outcome visioning.
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Organizing.
  5. Identifying next actions.

I’ve been slowly trying to craft these steps all week.  I’ll let you know when I come up with something worthwhile.

At the moment, I’m tucked in my office.  Both kids are napping, and I’ve got my Franklin Covey planner open on my desk.  I’m trying to organize my time more efficiently.  I’ve already filled out and printed our family calendar for October (it’s hanging triumphantly on the fridge), and now I’m brainstorming for blog ideas, meals, etc.  I cherish this quiet time; though it’s always a little unsettling as I never know when a child will cry and I’ll have to hang it up for the day.

This week, I keep getting blog spam on one particular post on QITNM from 2009.  I finally revisited the piece in the middle of the night, when I was awake nursing Ailie.  It was a fascinating glimpse into the woman I used to be; I am truly astounded at how much I’ve evolved since then.  It makes me smile that there was a time I felt so unproductive; it just goes to show you that when we believe we have all the time in the world, we are destined to squander it.  When your precious babes are napping and they could wake at any moment?  Mama gets to WORK, y’all.  I’ve never been more driven and more productive, since birthing these tiny beings. I wish I would have had such motivation then.

Other things are interesting looking back on this post, and I have to thank the spammer for driving these points home.  Lately, I miss working.  (To be sure: I wouldn’t go back yet, and I’m blessed to be in my position.  I just miss the work environment, is all.) But dudes?  I was unhappy in my actual job. (The travel, the people, the martinis?  Loved every minute.  The actual career?  Meh.)  And hey!  Lest I forget, I’ve accomplished a whole helluva lot since these words were written.  J did get his MBA.  We did move.  I’m in grad school now (though on a semester hiatus).  And I’ve got two delicious babies.  I am not rich nor perfect yet; but soon enough, right?

Song of the day: The Boxer by Jerry Douglas featuring Mumford and Sons and Paul Simon.  Because it is just stunning.


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