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Getting your spouse into GTD

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  • Getting your spouse into GTD

    Im sure some of you have been wrestling with the same project i've taken on currently, which is to "convert" my wife into using GTD. She's a freelance writer and seminar organizer with (at least it seems to me) allways too many projects going on at the same time, resulting in loooong days, working through all weekend, migrene and generally bad temper ... Having four kids under 11 yrs of age in the same equation is quite a challenge.
    I've been on the GTD bandwagon for few months now, and being in sales, where my income is directly relative to the amount of things i actually get done, i can testify that GTD was the missing cogwheel (or turbo charger) from my machinery (which was more or less in a good condition allready, me being hyperarchivingmultitaskingcontrolfreak (collagues words...)). Ive succesfully gotten my boys (11 & 8y) into the bandwagon to a degree i find very suitable for kids (their rooms are in such order that i dont have to feel embarrassed when we get surprise guests) and they've both embraced the idea of 'inbox'.
    As for my wife i did the obvious, we set aside some time on a weekend just to go through her office (she works from home like i do too) and archived everything accordingly. I got her 'the book', but here was a dissappointment I read it myself in english (we are from Finland) as an ebook from my Nokia e90. My wife isnt as capable in english (she does use german and swedish a lot in her work though) so i got her the book translated in finnish. And oh boy... the translation was so out of line with the original,
    It was like any cheesy self-help guide for middle-aged housewives (no insult intended towards any middle-aged housewife, seriously). It totally blew her off from being enthusiastic about GTD. This was really the essence of the whole 'lost in translation' idiom.
    Anyway... monday this week i got her to brush up on her english and shes plowing through the original with new-found vigor. Ive seen lots of before-after pics of peoples' desks, and she now has an office where you actually dont have to search for a place between the piles of paper to land your foot when walking in. Theres still lots of work to be done, we've cleaned up her email inbox (1582 messages there...), she now has the natural workflow inside her head and she knows the tools she is using (ie calendar has a new meaning, todo lists >> next actions and projects etc etc). We are making progress, taking small steps at the time.
    And here's the question: as some of you have been in the same situation, with a project of having your spouse on the way towards 'mind like water' (my 8 yr old actually goes to karate and is in swimming team, he loved the idiom) could you point out any tips or tricks when pushing the wagon forwards? Or just share your own experience as a bystander/encourager. Im overenthusiastic, shes more or less still reserved (due to the bad translation and me being overenthusiastic (just cant help it)).
    I so much would like to see her achieve the same stress-free state i enjoy.

    Ps. Now the whole GTD phenomena is more or less unknown here up north (scandinavia in general), and i really got thinking might this translation be the issue. Traditional time management training on corporate level is still going strong, 99% of my customers and collagues have never even heard of GTD. Were they to pick up the translated version (in Finland) im sure i'd be seen in some quite strange limelight...
    The Nokia phones' incorporated PIM is more or less from the 80's and when talking to guys in their R&D (they're my customers), they also seem to have no knowledge of GTD.
    I wish that GTD would gain more ground up here, there'd be so much fewer things sitting so long on my @waiting for lists.

    Thanks in advance for yer input.

  • #2
    This is going to be an interesting thread. I'm in a similar situation where I want to get my spouse on the GTD bandwagon, too. For a long time she was resistant to the idea, but after seeing the changes that GTD has made in my life I think she's interested in having some of the same benefits.

    The challenge now is getting both of us to disengage enough from the daily grind to train her and committing to specific dates to do it. I've asked "when would you like to start learning GTD?" multiple times and the answer I get back every time is "whenever". There never seems to be a good time.

    That project has moved to Someday/Maybe and isn't likely to get off the skids until I get a straight answer and commitment from her. I'd really like to hear some success stories from others who have successfully persuaded key people to adopt GTD.
    Last edited by ellobogrande; 09-04-2009, 07:08 AM.


    • #3
      My suggestion is not to try. If you push your spouse, she'll just resist.

      I recommend just doing your best to show her, indirectly, how GTD has helped you. If she wants, then she might slowly migrate over to the system on her own.

      But don't forget: GTD is not for everyone. If she's not interested, don't keep pushing it on her -- that's a fast track to making a sore spot in your marriage.


      • #4
        Originally posted by RegionalSalesman View Post
        I so much would like to see her achieve the same stress-free state i enjoy.
        Talk about that. Talk about your feelings. Talk about the real benefits. Who cares about the gear, systems, methodologies and all that crap? Tell her how you never felt so awesome by specific example. Not all the time, too annerving. Not too seldom either, hard to get it right.