The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Challenge

The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Challenge

When dealing with a brat, we are inclined to make rules for behavior and to make them easy to follow. I explained in yesterday’s post that rules should be avoided for rebels and today I will explain that we shouldn’t make life easy for our inner rebels either.

If we are struggling to get things done, we typically assume that the task is just too hard. So we might:

– Tell ourselves to pick up one item from our filthy bedroom floor
– Eat one serving of fruit or drink one glass of water a day to lose weight
– Set the timer for five minutes to focus on the task at hand

There is no question that these approaches work! I have recommended them and used them many times. The problem is that the typical rebel isn’t underachieving because the task is too hard, but because it’s too easy. Rebels are perfectly capable of picking up, losing weight, and focusing. They just don’t want to because we have given them no good reason to do so.

I remember having a genius sixth grader in my class, when I was an elementary student, who had been arrested for armed robbery. School was absolutely no challenge for him; getting away with other people’s stuff was. I likewise struggled to accomplish any of the steps toward getting my Ph.D. until my husband told me I had to finish it in record time. Not only did I finish my Ph.D. in a matter of months, but I had a great time showing the psych department that it could be done.

Your inner rebel can get things done when you make it a real challenge for her.

– Challenge her to completely makeover her home in a month and submit the photos for a contest or publication
– Challenge her to enter a 12-week weight loss or transformation competition
– Challenge her to write a novel in a month or get all of her work done for the week by Wednesday (if you’re really crazy, four hours)

Your rebel can get great things done, but not if you expect too little of her. What kinds of challenges has your rebel met in the past? What kinds of challenges could motivate her today?

Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Rules
Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Intro

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The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Things Done

The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Things Done

In my book, So You’re Not Wonder Woman, I describe the resistance to change as being the fault of our inner brat (a label borrowed from Pam Young). When I think about what brats need, my first thought is a good whoopin’! That’s where the brat analogy breaks down.

When our inner brat doesn’t do right, we often try to whoop her. We berate, punish, and lay down the law. That might work if we were really dealing with an undisciplined brat. However, my recent experience raising a strong-willed teen has convinced me that we are not dealing with inner brats, but inner rebels. Trust me, you do not want to whoop a rebel!

I realized that although I knew what to say and do with respect to the real life rebels in my life, I was not applying those same principles when it came to the rebel in me. After beginning to practice rebel-friendly principles for self change, I am enjoying increased productivity and peace. If you want to make important life changes, achieve your goals, and get things done, you need to learn how to relate to your inner rebel, too. In a series of upcoming posts, I will share strategies for getting along with your rebel so you can get great things done.

The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Change – conclusion

The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Guilt – part 5

Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Respect – part 4

The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Superior – part 3

The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Challenge – part 2

The Rebel’s Guide to GTD – Rules – part 1

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Get Organized with Context Days

Get Organized with Context Days

Wondering when to tackle a given task can lead to procrastination and overwhelm. The GTD philosophy advises dividing all our to do’s into contexts (@computer, @office) etc. That structure can help you group activities by tool or location, but it gives us no structure for when we should be doing certain tasks.

I like my newly developed day-based contexts which just expand on those I learned from

Money and Mail Mondays – These are the days I will focus on work related tasks and will get stuff in the mail. These are the tasks I enjoy least, so I want to get them out of the way at the beginning of the week.

Teaching Tuesdays – These are days I will focus on school-related tasks.

Windows Wednesdays – Wednesdays will be the days I focus on computer-related tasks.

Thinking Thursdays – This is the day set aside for projects that require time or focus.

Fun Fridays – This is a day to accomplish all the quick, enjoyable to do’s like watching You-Tube videos or reading links friends send.

Shopping Saturdays – This is my grocery and errand day.

Sweet Sundays – The sweet reminds me to be sweet with the Lord, family, and friends. I will take care to correspond with people and spend special time with them.

Obviously, I can’t work or teach or do computer tasks only on the day assigned. And I better not restrict my sweetness to Sundays! But when I have a non-urgent, irregular task, I can absolutely save it until the appropriate context day. I use to manage my tasks which makes this approach super simple.

Let’s say I get an email saying that I need to send a registration form and check for my child’s activity to a given address. I simply forward the email to, archive the email, and move on. I read that a friend’s parent has passed on Facebook and I want to send a sympathy card. I have a few options, depending on the day. I can email a note to buy a sympathy card to (or add the task by opening the app on my phone or computer). I could also send it to Sunday if I already have a card or Wednesday if I want to send a card from

Not only will context days help you group your tasks for efficiency, but they enable you to automatically schedule tasks as well. You can keep your email inbox empty and have peace of mind knowing that all your tasks are scheduled. Can’t get to everything? If the task still isn’t urgent, simply redate for the following week (it’s so easy with goodtodo). I received nothing for this recommendation from goodtodo, but I might email to remind myself to ask them for some $ off my subscription. 🙂

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Summer Goals

Summer Goals

I dig summer, for one, because I can devote time to some personal goals. My friend, Deb, posted her goals for the summer. I wanted to share mine, too, and I hope you will share yours!

1. Complete my top 3 scrapbooking projects. This may be overly ambitious, but I have almost finished one of them and it’s a major step down from completing all of my scrapbooking projects this summer. 🙂

2. Educate myself about investing. I have dabbled in it and now I want to learn it and then teach it to my kids.

3. Streamline and simplify my home and life. I would like to spend time purging files and toys and lots of expectations.

4. Have a ton of fun with family and friends. I doubt I will look back fondly on the summer of 2011 as the year I completed goals 1-3, but I may remember goal number 4!

What are your summer goals?

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Doing More

Doing More

I have been spending time lately with women who are avid gardeners. As I look at their lovely flowers and vegetable beds, I think, “I should garden more.” (Or more accurately, I should start one).

I have noticed women whose shoes, purses, jewelry, outfits, and nail polish are stylish and coordinated and I think, “I should shop more.”

I have been reading women’s blogs that are monetized and are followed and retweeted by hundreds and I think, “I should blog more.”

I hear about homeschooling moms who follow a prescribed curriculum or schedule religiously, go on fascinating field trips, or have their children in any number of impressive classes and I think, “I should school more.”

I look at recipes using organic, home-ground, probiotic ingredients and I think, “I should cook from scratch more.”

I check out beautiful handmade clothing, afghans, photos, and scrapbooks and I think, “I should craft more.”

I see picture-perfect closets and spaces and I think, “I should organize more.”

At various times, I consider that I should be serving more, writing more, playing tennis more, selling more, speaking more, entertaining more, producing more, reading more, playing with the kids more, cleaning more, praying more, investing more, exercising more, and even relaxing more.

As I consider all the things I think I should be doing more of, I am overwhelmed and insecure. Can you relate? As I sought the Lord’s counsel on what more I ought to be doing, I was reminded that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He whispered to me that I could let some of my burdens go. (Bye bye garden!) I was reminded that I am more than enough for Him.

What burdens do you feel the Lord calling you to let go because you are more than enough for Him?

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God is a Gentleman

God is a Gentleman

No, I don’t suppose God looks like Clark Gable. But I do believe that our God isn’t just an Officer of the law, but a Gentleman of grace as well.

A few weeks ago, I was driving to my tennis match in a downpour. It seems that our habitat has evolved into a rain forest with as much rain as we have gotten lately. I hastily prayed, “Lord, it would be so wonderful to get a close parking space and for the rain to stop so I don’t get drenched on my way in.”

Now, I realize that there are plenty of you who believe that I was bothering God with my petty concerns. I will admit that my concern with entering the tennis club looking like a drowned raccoon with mascara running is petty. But I won’t admit that I was bothering God.

I have a single friend who was having car trouble one night. She prayed, “Lord, you are my husband. Husbands fix cars. Please fix this car!” The result was that she was able to get her car running again. I was thinking about her when I prayed my no-rain-great-parking-spot prayer. Although I am married, my husband wasn’t with me. If he had been, he would have dropped me off at the door!

After praying, I pulled into the lot and found the spot next to the handicap spaces open and waiting for me. That never happens! I typically walk blocks! Then the rain slowed to an intermittent drip as I left my car.

God is a Gentleman who loves to meet our every need. Today our niece got married. All week the big fear has been that it would rain during the afternoon pictures and evening indoor/outdoor reception as that was the forecast. I honestly wasn’t surprised that today is sunny and beautiful. I know people like me get criticized for praying for no rain because of the proverbial farmer who is praying in opposition to me. I felt very confident with all the flooding that NO farmers were praying for rain!

Thank you, God. You are sooooo good.

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