So Many Plans, So Much To Do: How to Stay On top of Things Stress Free and be Productive

So since my last post my family and I have made our move to our house (I like to call it property though but then people think we have to still build on it which we don’t) in country Victoria, Australia. If you’ve been following our journey we want to turn it into a permaculture food forest and become self-sufficient for all our food, power and water. This is a massive multi-decade long project and on top of that we have all sort of other plans to make an income from it along the way and start a separate youtube channel about our progress. In addition both my husband and I are doing post-graduate study, raising our 10 month old and either looking for work (me next year) or starting a new job (my husband). And we have other separate hobbies like the My Minimalist Baby channel, art…It is all rather exhausting just thinking about it all.

Now I wouldn’t want to say we are super efficient people or anything but I did want to share a method both my husband and I have been using lately to take the stress out of remembering everything we want to do on so many different projects. It’s called ‘GETTING THINGS DONE’ (GTD). This is a method of recording everything you want to do in an organised way that outlines things step by step well well as other info like where these tasks need to get done (home, garden, work, city etc). At first when my husband told me about this I scoffed at him saying that i already did ‘To Do’ lists regularly. But since giving GTD a go, I can say that it is a far more superior method.

To describe things simply (but i think if you are keen then check out: http://gettingthingsdone.com), how i organise thing is everything falls into certain projects. For example i’ll have a project called ‘GARDEN’ and another called ‘STUDY’. Within each project i’ll either have tasks or sub-projects. The difference between a project and a task is that tasks are the actual steps needed to do the project. Also each task has a context (which is where i need to be to do the task such as home, at the grocery store, at my computer etc) and some i’ll give deadlines. I can also set the priority of each task (and/or project) and the status which is things like: in progress, delegated (if i’m getting my husband to do one of the tasks towards my project) etc.

I’ve tried to represent this all here as this kind of flow chart:

IMG_20151012_102926

The reality is though that I don’t do this on paper as i have hundreds of tasks now to do and many many projects. Instead I use a free Android phone app called “DGT GTD”. My husband uses a google docs spreadsheet himself as he has an iphone and hasn’t yet found a free app for that yet that works as well as he’d like. But i personally love DGT GTD.

My phone app of course lets me know when my tasks or projects are due and i can tick them off when things get done. It also allows me to have checklists which i like for somethings, especially my grocery list. And it is good too because i can search for tasks based on the context. So for example I could be in the city for something else and i can just consult my phone app to see what other tasks need doing in the city context so that i can get the most out of my trip there rather than having to do multiple trips.

Finally if i’m just brainstorming ideas and I think of something that doesn’t necessarily fit into a project right way or if i know it will have lots of tasks and i don’t have time to enter them all into the app at that moment i can put things in an ‘inbox’ to be dealt with later.

So that’s that. I don’t have to worry about remembering things and i can focus on the tasks at hand. I also have now a great way of recording all the ideas now that i have throughout the day (a lot, i consider myself an ideas person). And in theory this should make me more efficient. It is definitely improving my life and would work equally well for a stay at home mum like me as for a high level executive. Now if i could just find something to help with procrastination… 🙂

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4 thoughts on “So Many Plans, So Much To Do: How to Stay On top of Things Stress Free and be Productive

  1. Am really enjoying reading through your blog when I should be doing other things on my “To Do” list! I will definitely look at that app you mention as I have never heard of GTD as a thing…except that it’s what I’m constantly trying and failing to do!

    I like that you and I are clearly trying to achieve similar things but at opposite sides of the planet and in totally different climates. Isn’t that the great thing about permaculture that it provides you with the design tools whatever the context?

    Liked by 1 person

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