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Using Getting Things Done at Home

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Getting Things Done, a book by David Allen, has been one of the most important and life changing books I have ever read. The principles of Getting Things Done are really all about keeping track of workflow and freeing one's mind for thinking about more important things than tasks. The basics are summarized in Getting Things Done for Dads. These recommendations for applying the Getting Things Done methods at home and with your family will help you get a bit more organized and focus your energies on things that matter most at home.

Capturing with the kids. One of my worst habits is not always being present when my kids are talking to me. I don't mean I'm not in the room, but that my mind is often somewhere else. Using your favorite capturing tool when your children, or your partners, visits with you about important things is a good idea. It will help you remember to help on that big homework assignment, to show up at the piano recital, and to pick up the sleeping bag liner for the winter scout campout. And even more importantly, over time it will help you see patterns from which you can learn about those closest to you.

Review with the family. Just like the GTD system suggests a weekly review of your lists, you can do the same thing with the family. Take some time on family night or set up a time maybe on Saturday or Sunday morning to correlate activities and priorities for the week. Review your family goals and mission statement and make sure you are focusing on the things that matter most.

Have defined family inboxes. David Allen recommends that people have a limited number of inboxes so inputs are tracked and not forgotten. In our home, we have a couple. We have a drawer in the laundry room (just off the kitchen) where mail, bills, notes and other items are always placed. We also have a bulletin board for each family member in that room where we can pin important reminders, etc. These really function as our family's inboxes at home.

See things as projects. Is going to the park a "project?" Sounds a little strange, but if you want to get it done, labeling something as a project is a good idea.

Have an agenda list for each family member. Agenda lists are not just for your supervisor and subordinates at work; they can also be for family members. So when you have an idea about a homework project for Ben, you can put a note on Ben's agenda list and next time you are together, pull out the list and visit about it. This will really help keep your time together focused.

Getting Things Done has been a revelation to me and to many other fathers. As you find the best ways to implement GTD in your work and personal lives, don't forget to include your family life in your processing and organizing. GTD can be a great tool for fathers in every aspect of their lives.

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