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Getting Things Done, Yeah Right

by Amanda on October 9, 2007
category: Inspiration

I vented to my husband the other evening that I hadn’t gotten everything done in the day that I wanted to. He asked me, “How much do you need to accomplish in one day to feel like you have done something?” I had done a lot that day. I am just really hard on myself.

I am always making to-do lists, but I can’t seem to finish everything. I feel like I should be able to accomplish my goals, but maybe my to-do lists are too long. I discussed this issue with my friend Kristin. She empathized with me and said that she has been a stay-at-home-mom for six years and she still struggles with this. It was comforting to know that this is not just a new-mom thing.

Kristin also pointed out that if you add up all the minutes that you actually have in a day to get things done in between diaper changes, feedings, playing, laying down for naps, it is not really that much time.

So we don’t have many windows of time during the day to get the things done that we want. Like starting a load to wash, folding that clean basket of laundry that has been in your bedroom for days, calling your mom, painting your toes, cleaning out your email inbox, planning your meals, cleaning that poop stained onesie, writing that thank you card. All things that we need to get done.

David Allen’s popular book, ‘Getting Things Done’ explains specific methods to help us organize our lives. He talks about clearing our minds of all the “stuff” going through our heads. David says:

Here’s how I define “stuff:” anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world that doesn’t belong where it is, but for which you haven’t yet determined the desired outcome and the next action step. [pg. 17]

Once our minds are clear of “stuff” we will be more productive and stress-free. I don’t know if a mom’s mind will ever be clear of stuff, no matter how much we organize and empty our thoughts. We are constantly worrying about our child’s well being. We are on call 24 hours a day and our task list never seems to end.

I do know that dumping my mind of all my to-do’s on to an actionable list at the beginning of my day does free up my mind some. I know I will remember what I want to later, because I wrote it down. But then that brings me back to the start. I make the list, but still don’t seem to get it all done. I think I need to realize I am not Superwoman.

Am I the only mom who feels this way? Have you read David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done”?

You may also be interested in reading:

Getting Started With GTD at 43folders.com

A Productivity Tip from The Millionaire Mommy Next Door

Getting Things Done at Amazon.com

GTD Cheatsheet at lifedev.net

3 Responses to Getting Things Done, Yeah Right

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristi
    October 9, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

    I can identify with that one. Some days I feel like I have done nothing. It was March of this year that I started a new list. It was the “Ten Positive things that happened today” list. The list doesn’t have to be things I did just positive things that I felt good about. If playing with/spending time with my kids is on there it always makes me feel better. It takes the focus off what I didn’t do and shifts the focus to what I did do. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days when I think I haven’t accomplished anything but if I make the list it always proves me wrong.

  • Gravatar October 9, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

    Thanks for the link!

    Re: To do lists – No, you’re not alone! I try to be forgiving of myself about not getting everything done, because I KNOW how much time and energy it takes to be a good parent. I’m getting pretty good at delegating tasks, too. I hire an adult babysitter two mornings a week. I pay her more than I would a teen, but I multi-task her time: she does our grocery shopping, banking, etc. while caring for my 2yr old. My husband participates equally in parenting and household chores, so that helps considerably.

    I really like Kristi’s suggestion! I’ve been keeping a happiness journal for years and it’s created a habit of looking at the bright side of daily life. I’m learning to not sweat the small stuff (the to do list).

  • Comment by McKenna
    October 10, 2007 @ 9:49 am

    These are great suggestions! I really try to focus on one or two things that absolutely has to get done that day and everything else I get done is icing on the cake! Yesterday, I really wanted my downstairs bathroom sparkling. I got that done and gave myself my gold star of accomplishment even though my upstairs looks like a tornado came through my house! ;) Today, it’s study for my test tonight…which I’m taking an extended break from at the moment and really should be studying while Connor’s is snoozing! You’re a great Mommy and Ace is lucky to have you!

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