There are a couple things that I really love:
(1) My wife
(2) My kids
(4) Practicing the art of living - with a focus and appreciation for small "wins"
This post is about items (2) + (3) + (4).
From my vantage point, GTD is one of the best games around to help you lead a life of small wins. I have two children: Conrad (7) and Hannah (10). We have breakfast together almost every day. It is from this precious "zone" in my day that I listen, teach and learn.
This is also where we practice the the art of living and where I get to experiment with GTD with my kids - but I do not use the GTD language... at least I try not too.
Here is an example.
I am taking the day off from work to spend time with the kids while they are on school vacation.
Here is a summary of the breakfast scene with the kids highlighting the GTD principles:
Dad: It is time to pull out our portable Think-a-torium (that is our code word for a blank piece a paper).
Dad: We need to capture all our ideas on what we could do today. [GTD - Getting our gear ready for the capture phase]
We now have a piece of paper next to our cereal bowls...
Dad: Let's see how many ideas we can write down in 1 minute. Ready? Go!
Kids and Dad write frantically. [GTD - we are capturing]
Conrad (7): I don't know what to write?
Dad: Just draw a picture then. Draw a picture of what you want us to do. [drawing in pictures has worked well for Conrad. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree! ;) ]
Hannah: I am ready.
Dad: okay... let's hear all the ideas. [GTD - Clarify phase. Also, positive reinforcement for the kids]
Dad: Hannah, before we start what is my favorite quote about ideas?
Hannah: (roll of the eyes) "you have to have lots of ideas, even real clunkers, to find the good ideas."
Dad: That's right. It is about how many Thinks you can Think (from Dr. Seuss)
Kids share ideas
"How would we do that one?..."
"Tell me more about that..."
"That is a crazy idea... I love it!"
Dad: Wow! You guys never cease to amaze me. Where do you get all these crazy ideas! These are great.
Dad: Let's try to piece together a plan for today based on these ideas. Hannah, can you draw a schedule for today? [GTD - preparing for the organizing phase; we hand draw a calendar for the day]
Hannah (10): Sure.
Dad: What are the top three things we want to do?
Kids discuss, debate and select. Dad steps into mediate as needed but I try to stay out.
Dad: How much time will we need for each and when do you want to do them? [GTD- we are figuring out our "hard landscape and soft landscape" items.]
The kids block off time on the schedule, we write "next actions" on a separate piece of papaer (e.g. call friend to see if they want to join us).
Dad: (holding up the schedule that the kids made) This looks like a great day.
Dad: (whispering) Can I tell you a secret? The Think-a-torium is a magic tool. You can use it any time and any place. I am always amazed how it is blank one moment and filled with great ideas the next.
Kids: Dad, you are weird!
We carry around our plan for the remainder of the day.
Dad: (in the front seat of the car) Hannah and Conrad what is next on our schedule?
At the end of the day...
Dad: Hannah and Conrad let's take a look at our day. That was a great day. What was your favorite part?
Great discussion. I use this time to listen and try to understand what the kids naturally enjoy. This could be a clue to one of their strengths.
As you can see we used GTD yet made up our own crazy words for some things. Yet, best of all, we had a day full of adventures and smiles. The power to pull this off again is one Think-a-torium session away!