Merging GTD and FlyLady
October 7, 2006 6:25 PM   Subscribe

ProductivityFilter: Help a work-at-home mother of two design a GTD-meets-FlyLady life management system. Very much

I have a busy calendar and a bajillion tasks to manage at any one time, and I need to find a good way of handling it all. I have had great success separately with GTD and FlyLady in the past, and I've also done well with the paper Franklin Planner system, but I'm feeling a little daunted by the scale of my current situation. I am dead certain the key to retaining my sanity will be a well-constructed and very rigid set of daily and weekly routines, integrated with inescapable reminders of some sort. (At one point in the past, I had a fantastic set of Entourage reminders for my regular routines, and it made my life totally fabulous.) I am equally certain that I will do best if my personal and professional obligations are both accounted for in this theoretical system. Please help me find the tools and framework to keep my act together.

Here are my specifics: I just had my second child a week ago, and my first just started school a couple of weeks before that, so I have a whole new set of responsibilities and obligations to keep track of. (Homework? Really? In *preschool*?) Meanwhile, I do work full-time out of a home office and have some other misc. professional development obligations; GTD alone would handle it well, and has done so before. As an added wrinkle, my household is in disarray because my old (and faulty to begin with) systems fell down pretty completely in late pregnancy due to fatigue and ongoing construction work (but I had a great FlyLady-inspired system running a couple of years ago!). And of course there are ongoing requirements for self-care and keeping in touch with friends and providing time and affection to my husband and kids to think of... Basically, I'm a girl with an awful lot going on.

I use OSX but switch freely between a desktop and laptop, which is what ultimately broke my lovely Entourage reminder system; if I could find a way to run a loosely Entourage-style to-do/calendar/reminder system across both machines, I think my life would be utterly perfect. No, really. I need to find a way to track and remind for both repeating tasks and calendar items ranging from "pick up daughter from school in 15 minutes" to "write X by Friday" to "Pediatrician appointment next Thursday at noon." I don't travel and it's rare for me to be far from a computer, unless I'm actively out running errands. I enjoy paper-based systems and have limped by the past year with a Franklin planner, but they just don't have the timely in-your-face reminding I need now and I never did quite figure out how to track routine tasks with them to the degree of granularity I would prefer.

What systems or tools (or combination thereof) would you recommend for tracking regular routines, appointments, and one-off tasks and projects? How should I best organize it all? Anyone been in my shoes and have great advice for me?
posted by Andrhia to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Check out Remember The Milk.

It support multiple todo lists for various projects, as well as tags. it can send reminders by IM, SMS, or email. It has an additional interface that is easy to use from any web-enabled cellphone or PDA.

GTD is implementable because you can tag taks with anything, then use their very complete search system to build "smart lists".

It also, of course, supports scheduled and reccuring actions, with a nifty interface that lets you type "next friday" or "every 2 weeks".

Really quite a great tool, fun to use, and their site is gorgeous. Also, it is really fast! :)

I'm not a paid spokesperson or anyting, i just really like it.
posted by bkudria at 7:09 PM on October 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

I just had my second child a week ago
Congraulations. I admire your ambition, but you may want to take it easy for a few weeks. Enjoy your baby!
posted by libraryhead at 6:51 AM on October 8, 2006

*Congratulations* of course
posted by libraryhead at 6:52 AM on October 8, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks :)

Don't worry, I'm not leaping head-first into anything too ambitious! I have a lot of help right now, but I'm also trying to look ahead to how to manage everything when I'm on my own again. I think it'll go much better for me if I have at least a proto-structure in place by then...
posted by Andrhia at 9:47 AM on October 8, 2006

Best answer: Since you already have a background in GTD, look into the GTDGmail firefox extension. I believe it is based on this white paper but is just a really slick and elegant implementation. Gmail's tags make it easy to use it for GTD which is then not platform dependent like the Outlook implementations.

Since I'm already on my email I've found it to be a great way of maintaining my gtd across multiple work and home computers. Especially now that Gmail and Google calendar are linked and Gmail has all sorts of reminder messages, including to your phone. Also I can filter the flylady missions directly into my systems with everything else.

One thing I just discovered is that if my internet goes down (thank you Comcast!) I'm a little lost. But Gmail can be popped to a local computer and Google calendar can be downloaded and I bet they're working on syncing.

Congrats and good luck!!
posted by DarthDuckie at 7:24 PM on October 8, 2006

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