Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Monday, September 13, 2010

GTD for Kids: Part 1

My dear husband is a Getting Things Done (GTD) zealot.  He ranks it as the second most influential book in his life, right after Atlas Shrugged.  My kiddo is getting to the age where he's interested in longer term projects than getting a foot to his mouth or even ice cream out of the fridge.  He wants... expensive legos or even skills and that takes some planning.

GTD is all about keeping track of what you want to get done and accomplishing your goals as effectively as possible.  That's a lot more complicated for an adult, but the basic skills of capturing ideas, placing them in a trusted system, and acting upon them are worth establishing early.  So... I was thinking it might be good to start that process and that's just about where I am i.e. I am starting the process.

First, we sat down with my son to get all the things that he'd like to be different.  He's a very talkative kid and not at all short on ideas, so this took a bit of time.  As soon as we got a kernel of an idea, we'd write it down and move on though.  Then we asked which of these things he wanted to work on now and which were in a "someday" or "maybe" category.  Voila, we had a project list!  As we started tackling the projects, we looked for "next actions" that he could take.  That wound up with many of the projects getting moved over to the maybe category as he didn't want to do that many things :)  (We also found that some of them spurred new projects as he figured out that a goal had a few parts.)

This was the project list:
Learn how to use bolts to make things
Buy legos
Be a lego expert
Finish typing program
Learn Chess
Earn money quicker
Read expert books
Learn to have jiffier hands
Get first stripe in Jiu JItsu
Learn counting by 2 better
Be able to tread water for one minute
Be able to swim the length of the pool
Learn woodworking
Learn masonry
Learn to drive a car
Start a dog walking business

At first, he picked the first five to work on (after we'd had a long discussion about a dog walking business which got moved into the "maybe" category).

"Buy legos" was broken down into completing his wish list (already done) and earning money.  For earning money there was: walking small dogs, picking up apples from our trees, chopping vegetables, digging up weeds, watering plants, getting the mail, and helping neighbors.  Each option was discussed and moved either to a "next action" step or deferred into the "someday maybe" pile.  (These terms are familiar to GTD readers and I highly recommend the book for both more clarity and as a productivity tool.) Each of the other projects he wanted to act upon were discussed as well.  So... what next.

Today, I went to the store and got him his own file box/ folders and we're planning to make his own inbox together that he can decorate.  I've printed out wide lined paper that a first grader can write on easily, so he'll have a good place for capturing ideas too.

So... that's where we're at so far.  I think it will be great for him to have his own place for starting to work on the skills for being efficacious.  It's very much a work in progress though and I'd love to hear how other parents have taught productivity skills to their kids.

Waiting to learn about trams during our lovely weekend visit to Portland

1 comment:

  1. Wow does your son ever remind me of Ryan! We're doing a similar thing with the lists we made a couple weeks ago for homeschool projects. Thanks for the tips on how to make it more GTD explicit.