Categories | Community Contributions | Getting Started
During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the “stuff” of the holidays – buying, buying, buying, giving, planning, traveling, cooking, packing, etc.
This season, I am spending my time on gratitude and simplifying the holidays so that I don’t burn out, so that I don’t spend beyond my means and so that I do the things that matter most.
I am eternally grateful for Getting Things Done. As a former disorganized individual who moved to her first apartment with 97 boxes of books, I have completely reinvented myself as an organized gal who people can count on.
It wasn’t easy. I grew up in a house brimming with papers and books stacked to the ceiling, my parents both artists. Creativity sparked throughout the house, so much so that we were night owls, working on our projects until we collapsed from exhaustion.
I had to train myself to become a morning person and train myself to let go of most of the stuff I’d brought along with me. I had to change the way I thought of myself and redefine who I was through not what I had, but what I did.
I had read Getting Things Done years ago and liked the principles, but never secured them to my thinking. Until last year.
This Christmas marks one year that I’ve incorporated the GTD philosophies into my life and I am forever grateful.
I live with my fiancé, a television writer, and we both write and work from home – in a one bedroom apartment with our 18 pound cat! Oh, the hilarity that ensues… But seriously, it’s hard to have shed years of keeping papers and magazines and then become a magazine writer who is constantly surrounded by papers and magazines without feeling a little like my old self.
GTD helps me keep it in check. The way of recording everything in different categories allows me to keep track of the many things I’ve always got on the go, the various platforms I write in – blogs, websites, newspapers, magazines, journals, etc – without sapping me of my creativity. I can still capture ideas for my twitter accounts, various blogs and magazines stories I’m working on, while staying on top of all the “life stuff” that daily life brings – paying bills, phone calls to make, books to order at the library, packages to mail, groceries to buy and meals to make, cleaning, organizing, reading, etc.
For the first time in my life, I am doing more than I ever thought I was capable of and I can track it all without feeling overwhelmed or burdened by it all by following the “empty head” credo. I simply write it all done.
This past year, my first book was published, I became a host of a radio program, interviewed some of the top celebrities in my country, hosted a food book club in partnership with an elite bookstore and gave food and writing workshops that excited the crowd, all while writing each and every day in my home office, spending time with my fiancé, friends, family and neighbours and actually doing some things for myself like setting aside time to read, cook, walk, and send friends letters and packages.
There were some disappointments along the way – jobs I didn’t get, financial worries that made me wonder if I could keep freelancing – but thanks to GTD, I always had something to do next, some lead to follow up on, some new story idea to pitch.
I haven’t reached all of my goals (what’s the fun in that?), but am hoping that with the new year comes new opportunities.
Over the last couple of decades, I have tried a number of things in order to allow me to live the creative life I want and still stay on top of the life stuff. GTD – with a few of my own personal tweaks to make it work for my wonky lifestyle and schedule – wins hands down.
This holiday season, I am giving only a few gifts this year, instead spending my time instead with the people who matter most and writing to those far away.
You’ll also find me with my head down, writing furiously. My goals, my dreams and all the things that remain to be done like taxes, fixing the tabletop in the hallway and how to spend more time with friends with crazy schedules.
I can do all of this and more, thanks to GTD.
Stephanie Dickison, author of The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working from Home, is a freelance lifestyle writer. See more at http://www.stephaniedickison.com