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!
I’m back productive stoners! So sorry for the delay! It’s just an example of how often I can get off track! That’s just life. The beauty of the GTD system is that it’s easy to pick up after dropping the ball for a couple days.
In our last post in this series, I showed you how to process your inbox and get clear on the stuff in your inbox. Today’s step is fun and easy, we are going to organize!
In this post we will go over step three of the Getting Things Done method, Organize. I will show you specific examples of the organizational systems that work well with my personal GTD system. But this step is about choosing and setting up the right tools for you, so please don’t feel constrained by my preferences.
GTD Step Three | Organize
What is it?
The organize step is about putting things where they belong. Specifically, setting up the systems to make your daily capturing and clarifying as easy as possible.
GTD is no different from any other interest or hobby one can undertake, it requires a certain amount of basic supplies. I like to think of GTD as a much-beloved hobby, something worth buying pretty things for, investing time and money into.
I recommend buying yourself a notebook you adore and a calendar that makes you smile. At its core GTD is a list-based system, so you need a good list manager. Take the time to research different applications and stick with one or two max.
- Wunderlist– my current list making application! I’ve used this one for years! You can share lists with others and allow them to edit your lists. David and I use Wunderlist for our never-ending grocery list.
- Trello– Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards, and it’s especially well suited for the GTD system. I currently use Trello for the times when I get mentally blocked and I need to see things all at once. It’s a great list manager for those who are more visual thinkers.
- Todoist– Yet another impressive application for list making. Their free application might get you by, but the real functionality is in the upgrade.
- OmniFocus– OmniFocus was created by OmniGroup, who partnered with David Allen for this very GTD-friendly application. I have lusted after this app for years now, but I seem to have some sort of mental block when it comes to paying $39. Idk, I have problems. Some day I will get it I swear, but for now, I’m doing the whole ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ thing.
- I recommend a hanging paper calendar in the home, someplace accessible to all members of the family. The kitchen is a great spot, you can go over important info during breakfast. This one central calendar will make it easy for all family members to make plans. Save the work specifics for your personal calendar- the family one should be simple.
- For digital calendars, iCal and Google Calendar are definitely the most popular. You can’t go wrong with either one. I use iCal because all of my gear and devices are Apple products, but I also subscribe to some google calendars. Either application allows syncing with the other. I love having iCal on my watch where I can see the day’s plans by glancing at my wrist.
- WeekCal– iCal may be my calendar, but on my phone, I prefer to view it through this secondary app, WeekCal. Its interface looks a little more like iCal on a Mac which is my preferred method for viewing.
- OneNote– My personal choice, OneNote is Microsoft’s answer to Evernote. I jumped ship from Evernote to OneNote a couple years ago, and don’t regret it. The number one reason why I prefer OneNote is it’s very simple tabbed notebook interface. Is it too much to ask that digital notebooks have tabs for fucks sakes? Anyway, sorry.
- Evernote– A super popular standard for all sorts of archiving, web clipping, writing, and note-taking.
Evernote for a couple of years before switching to OneNote. I’d say the biggest advantage of Evernote is its numerous integrations with a number of other applications.
- Dropbox– Excellent cloud storage for sharing files.
- Google Drive – Google Drive is cloud storage for all sorts of files. Google Docs and Google Sheets both live under the Google Drive umbrella.
Spreadsheets and documents stored in the cloud are always accessible. I keep a handle on our finances with a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
- Pocket– An excellent way to save and organize links and articles for offline reading.
- Home/Family Binder- This is a great filing system for homeowners, especially those with a smaller household. I keep all our current insurance policies, birth certificates, safe deposit box key, coupons, divorce papers and more in this binder. In the case of fire, grab that sucker and run.
- The first step to getting control of your inbox is to set up something like Unroll me. This tool quickly scans through your email and finds subscriptions and allows you to unsubscribe from them all in one place.
If there are email subscriptions that you choose to keep, you can choose to do nothing, or roll them up into a consolidated daily digest. This consolidates all of your subscription emails into one email for you to quickly scan through, excellent for keeping ahead of sales at your favorite stores, or updates from your favorite bloggers.
- Set up folders- In Gmail, folders are called labels. Use your next actions lists as inspiration, but you may not need quite so many categories in your email. In my personal inbox, I only have two labels- @immediate action and @tickler.
- wtf is a tickler? Back in the olden days, before computers and all that jazz, institutions and organized people used an elaborate 43-folder system called a tickler file or tickler. Back in my personal banker days we called it the “Future Action” file and I thought it was the most genius thing ever.
Use your phone for good, not evil
Okay, I’m going to take it for granted that ya’ll have smart phones. If not, go ahead and skip this part. Our phones are seriously a miracle. I know that we bitch about them a lot, and I know that our phones are doing a lot to set us back as a species. Like so much in our world, phones are totally capable of good and evil.
- Neglecting kids because phone.
- Becoming addicted to something via phone. That means stupid apps, spending money on games, shopping, facebook stalking, sexting, being snarky in forums, etc.
- Modeling an example for your kids that the phone is the healthy, natural focus of one’s attention, even over our family members.
- Using tech to build systems that you are confident with, are able to remind you of all of your duties and tasks, including everything from mental health to mindfulness, ultimately making you a happier person.
- Building lifelong friendships with other stoner moms on Snapchat.
- Sitting in my driveway, ordering and paying for coffee on my phone, getting to Starbucks, skipping the line, and having my coffee ready and waiting. It’s my favorite thing ever.
- Being able to work from literally anywhere, including while waiting on kids doing extracurricular activities.
- Apps that allow me to watch what my 2nd grader is doing in class, in real time. Our class uses SeeSaw.
- Using FaceTime or similar to see grandparents and relatives from around the globe.
- Watching my husband check off items at the grocery store, also in real time, and being able to add to that list at any time.
- All music, all the time and anywhere.
you can always change your mind.
It may take you a little bit of trial and error to find the right set of tools for you, but don’t give up! Once you find the one or two systems that have all the features you need, stick to it like a newfound hobby! Productivity is your bitch in 2017, am I right?
Help for the Productivity Challenged
The GTD store has these awesome $10 setup guides for integrating the system with whatever app you choose. I bought the Wunderlist guide, read it in one sitting, and was up and running. Maybe it seems silly, $10 to see how to organize a free app? Really, nothing about GTD is rocket science. It’s all very basic. But the reality is that no matter how simple it may be to get things done, we still have a bitch of a time actually getting them done, don’t we?
Organize your shit! Our next step is Review, and you will definitely want your systems in place for a great weekly review.
Until next time stoner fam! Love all of you!