GTD for Stoners
The Stoner Mom’s Crash Course in Life Management
Created in 2001 by David Allen, Getting Things Done is a method of managing and maintaining all of your life’s commitments. In this blog series, I am breaking down the Getting Things Done method, but for stoners. Because stoners can be productive. They are industry leaders and stay-at-home moms. They are doctors, teachers, grandmothers, combat veterans and so much more.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with your life’s responsibilities and don’t know where to start, then this is the series for you!
Hi friends! Here we are, the last step of the basic Getting Things Done method. In our last post of this series, we talked about the Weekly Review, a powerful ritual for an organized life.
In this post, we will go over the final step of the GTD process, and that is to engage. Engage means using your system to complete tasks. This is when we actively use the system to get things done. This post will show you how to decide what to work on, so you can get past the self-doubt and simply do.
GTD Step Five | Engage
What is it?
Okay. We’ve set up our life management system. We know how important it is to capture all of our thoughts on paper. Our buckets are set up and we are beginning to use them. We’ve mastered processing our inbox and we’ve committed to the weekly review.
The last step is to put this bitch in drive and engage. Using your personally crafted framework you can take on your many tasks with confidence, knowing that nothing is forgotten when you are working on other tasks. This gives you the ability to single task without that nagging voice of doubt clouding your focus.
How to Decide What to Work On
When you have that sinking suspicion that you may not be spending your time as wisely as you should, there are four criteria you can consider to get yourself back on track. To choose what to do with confidence, consider the following:
The Next Actions list is a contextual list already set up and ready to go. The first step to deciding what to work on is to consult your Next Actions list. There is no point in looking at tasks you can only do at home if you are at work.
Some tasks simply take more time to complete, so consider the time that you have available before you begin a task. It doesn’t make sense to begin an hour-long task if you have to leave to pick up the kids in thirty minutes.
The same goes with energy. One’s energy level is a personal thing, so it’s important to figure out your personal work strengths and preferences.
For example, I write best in the afternoons and evenings, but in the mornings I am much more suited to housework or other physical tasks. Social and physical activities are particularly draining for me, and so I like to get them done in the early part of the day while my energy levels are naturally high.
Lastly, if there is an urgency based on time or importance, those are often the best tasks to take on. If you are unsure about what holds higher priority, ask yourself, “if I only accomplish one thing today, what should it be?”.
The more you use your system the more confidence you will have in it. The more confidence you have in your system, the more you will use it.
There are no hacks or shortcuts to the work involved in getting things done. The GTD system is simply a way to keep your mind clear and your life organized. It is no substitute for carrying through.
When I feel overwhelmed by my tasks I tend to get all “woe is me” and unmotivated, but I have found that humbling myself is the best way to get over that. Everyone has a life full of stuff to manage and my list is no more special than anyone else’s. I think of the people who have it much harder than I, or those with far more responsibility. When I put my challenges in perspective to others I almost always get a sense of humbling and then, purpose and motivation.
It also helps to reverse engineer the success of those we admire. The people we aspire to be, have systems. They didn’t get where they are by accident, and they didn’t find success without writing things down and being organized with their priorities. All adults need to figure out a system, no matter how basic. It should be fluid, flexible, and forgiving.
Your system should be there to pick you up when you slip. When you forget, when you ignore your notifications, when you blow off all the new life-changing routines you were going to implement the next day, you can start again. You should start again. And every single time you start again, you train your mind to trust the system that you built for yourself.
Lastly, treat yourself kindly. We are fragile and complicated and there are so many variables to the human condition. We should not be afraid to take control of our own lives or to hold ourselves to a very high standard. But remember that we are all flawed, all need sleep, all mess up, and all fall off the wagon. Treat yourself with the kindness you hopefully treat others with.