Last week was very different in terms of productivity. I had my eye on the list I had made at the beginning of the week but ended up doing something completely different. The one thing I did try to complete was staying on top of my Chinese studies, clocking 3.25 hours for the week.
Instead of my list, I read and started implementing the principles discussed in Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. My husband and I both read the book and are trying out the principles. Both of us are using Asana to manage our commitments.
It’s only been a couple of days since I put everything into Asana but it already seems to be helping. The main principle of GTD is having everything down on paper so that you don’t use brain space to try to remember commitments, projects, etc. Instead, everything is managed on paper (or in my case in an app) so that I can just pull up the app and remind myself every morning of what I have committed to do that day. This frees up energy for creativity.
A couple quick examples:
I have a reminder to email my agency first thing tomorrow morning about our Skype call on Friday. We had a time change since the call was scheduled and Taiwan (as far as I can tell) does not participate in time changes. So we need to verify that our call is still at 7PM.
I have a reminder to fill out my husband’s expense reports on the 10th of every month. Too often I forget and then we have to wait an extra two weeks for reimbursements. Every penny counts when you’re saving up for adoption expenses!
I have yet another reminder to follow up with our book order on Wednesday because we need to know if our daughter’s birthday present will arrive in time to mail it before her birthday. If not, we’ll need to take a trip over to the Chinese bookstore in Seattle on a Sunday before the end of the month.
The benefit of having these reminders set up in Asana is that I don’t have to remember. I just pull up my calendar tomorrow and know that I need to email my agency. Instead of stressing to make sure that I remember, I can forget because my calendar will remind me. Instead of realizing at the end of the month that our daughter’s birthday present is incomplete, we can track the shipping and buy something else if needed. And we won’t be left scrambling the day before it needs to be mailed.
So far I really like the principles and hope that I will be able to maintain the system. The key is to make sure that I write down everything as it happens. If I don’t, I’m forced to again remember to do such and such. As I am someone who tends to lay in bed at night and stress over details, this should be really useful for me. Now I can just lay in bed and practice sentences in Chinese that I can say on our Skype call…