Ahhh, it’s refreshing to wakeup in the morning to the smell of sizzling eggs on the stove in a clean kitchen. Dishes are put up. Foors are spotless. The air is crisp. Starting your day with a clean house is refreshing but an insurmmountable goal with 2 little ones crawling around.
Before kids, I strained everyday to get to Inbox Zero before my work was done. After kids, my new Inbox Zero is a clean sink. But how do you do it? My little ones’ needs constantly overshadow getting anything else done in my life.
You know what I’m talking about. We all have this sountrack playing in our head. Your baby cries, and you realize she’s teething. You walk to the kitchen to find a teething ring. You think, “oh no, I can’t find the orajel. I better put that on my grocery list. While I’m thinking about it, we need milk. This kitchen is a mess, I really need to organize the pantry. I better not forget to buy a gift for the birthday party on Saturday. Wait a minute, why did I walk in the kitchen?”
What’s Inbox Zero?
Inbox Zero is a state of mind where I have processed all my mental to-dos and organized it into a trusted sytem to where I have it when I need it. Stuff like schedule vet appointment, pick up prescription from drugstore, buy more baby formula. I get it out of my head, onto paper (or computer), so I can focus on my current task, like enjoying a day at the park with my babies. It’s based on the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity (GTD) by David Allen.
I’ve been an avid GTD’er since 2005. Inbox zero is my way life. The goal is to organize all the clutter in your head so you can get things done even when you are sick, or in my case even when you have 2 screaming babies on each hip. Before GTD, I was chronically double-booking myself for lunch, overlooking an email request fron my boss, forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning. GTD was exactly what I needed to keep my naturally scattered brain in order.
Now I’m a wife with twins and a part-time job, and boy do I ever need GTD. So how do I graft my former coporate GTD life into my new mommy-life?
Before kids my context lists (where I organize my to-dos) looked like: @computer, @work, @home, @errands.
Today my context lists will morph to something like: @home babies awake, @home babies asleep, @errands with kids, @errands without kids, @work
Join me as I work through this transition of organizing my mommy-life. It’s tough work!
Question: How do you “get things done” as a mom? Share your tips and tricks.
Resources: I use the web based app toodledo to organize my action lists. I can access it anytime on my phone as well.
For more on GTD, go to David Allen’s site. I strongly recommend reading his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity. It’s the best resource on implementing this method.
Getting Things Done for a New Mom
Day 1: The Tools You’ll Need
Day 2: Collection. Capturing All the Stuff in Your Head
Day 3: Process. The Work Flow
Day 4: Process. What’s the Next Action
Day 5: Organizing Your Buckets
Day 6: Weekly Review
I like that – Inbox Zero! 🙂 I also “empty” my brain of all the stuff that needs doing. I have a chalkboard I write daily to dos on, a notepad to write long-term plans, my blog to do lesson planning for teaching, and an ongoing grocery list each week already on the refrigerator that I just add to as I think of things we need. That’s my system. 🙂
Of course! I never thought of a clean sink as a kind of Inbox Zero. I would add that picking up all the toys from the living room floor before gong to bed. And for me, writing a To Do list for the next day also helps me sleep better.
You are so right Zoe, a clean floor IS an InboxZero. I must confess, there are some nights when I do leave the toys about. Gulp, then I always regret it the next morning.
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