Applying GTD at Home

I’ve been a devotee of David Allen’s GTD approach to making things happen since the late 1990s, but mainly for my professional work. I have defined some projects and next actions on the personal and home front, but it hasn’t been until this Christmas holiday time that I’ve clued in to GTD at home. I doubt I’m fully there, but I have a much greater awareness of it broad applicability outside of the office.

David talks about dealing with the “stuff” that shows up in our lives, and doing one of five things with it (after asking what is it and whether it’s actionable): dumping it, doing it if it takes less than 2 minutes, filing it, and so on. Well … I’ve only ever seen “stuff” as the professional stuff, but the same thinking applies to a much wider spectrum.

A can of baked beans that one of the children has left on the floor? File it – in the can cupboard.

A scrap of paper on the floor? Dump it – in the recycling bag. Non-recyclable trash? Dump it – in the bin.

A strawberry bed enclosure to keep the birds away? Define the project, make the plans, and determine the next actions, eg, buy more bird netting, clean up the yard now the project is done, and note by context so it will get done.

The biggest weaknesses in my implementation of a GTD system for non-professional things though, is a lack of portability with a mobile device. Since I wrote my own software to support my GTD system (and a variety of interlocking pieces such as time tracking and project billing), I can’t just flick a switch and make it mobile. It may be time to go back to the drawing board with respect to this part of my system, because its lack acts as a drag on my willingness to go through the process on everything.

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