New to gtd - Im a new mom - need some help setting up circa planner!

I am a new mom - my baby Olivia is now 3 months old ... we also just bought a house, and i co-own a business with my mom ... My little girl came three weeks early, so of course my to-do list of things to do around the house cleaning-wise, and renovations we're doing (the list is huge) is a big mess and things never got done!

Id love to know how moms who also work full time or own their own business have their gtds set up? I bought a circa planner but i am unsure if i should keep a separate gtd planner for work; and do you keep sections for household things, etc/ I guess for fun id like to hear some advice/tips!

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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***


Congratulations on Olivia and the new house! It sounds like you have your hands full. My son is grown and I'm currently job-hunting, so I'm not the role model you're looking for, however, I started out with David Allen's recommended sections in my planner and added "household" and "journal" for menu pages, daily notes, etc. I also adapt as I go along, for instance, my "Agenda" section currently houses my job search records. I've never kept a separate planner for work/home, I figure it's "one life" and I'd hate to have left the dentist's phone number in my home planner when I chip my tooth at work.

Good luck and have fun. If you root around here, you'll find a lot of really good advice.

Make it your own


I tried a bunch of different ways to plan.

I have a full time job and I'm a mom of twins who are now just done with kindergarten. My job regularly changes, right now I'm working on mostly one project at a time. In the past I have tried all sorts of different formats and styles and methods of tracking things from housework to job stuff to bills, appointments, vacations, family events..

Some elements to consider as you set things up..
* How do things arrive that need to be recorded/scheduled?
For me, there are two methods: email and verbal, and less often via papers from school. Do I want to write all the things I get via email on a paper list? No, I'm too lazy for that, and it's inefficient. Do I want to type every thing into my technology to record my to do list? No, I only do that for appointments. So I end up with two to-do lists..One is electronic which is work stuff that mostly comes in via email. The other is on paper and is mostly home/school stuff. This is OK with me. I do not need the two lists to become one because they are essentially different contexts in GTD terms.

* How often do you need to refer to these things when you are outside your home?
For me it's rare. For some of my appointments I'm standing at their office and they're telling me when they want my next appointment, but I rarely get to-dos outside the house. If you don't need your to-do list when you're outside your home, then why would you drag it around in your binder? Have two, and only take the appointment one with you when you leave.

* Do you like technology or prefer to avoid it?
I like it for certain things, but it's more trouble than it's worth to use it for every little thing. Example: for sharing calendars with other people, there's really no good substitute for technology like Outlook or Google Calendar. But for scratch notes during the day, I rely on paper. I have a fantastic shopping list program that I share with my husband on our android phones--love it to death. But paper also works fairly well for shopping lists, especially if you don't have to share lists with anyone else.

* For stuff you need to carry around with you, what's the best size?
For me, the smaller the better. I end up carrying only my android phone. It has my appointments and my contact list, and these are synched and backed up to other places in the event of technofailure or loss. The paper to do list stays on my desk, front and center, along with my scratch notes. My work to-do list stays on the computer, because I can't do my to-dos without my computer. That information is also backed up in case my laptop fails. I really love 3x5 cards for temporary to-do lists, I have a card box on my desk for stuff like that. If I have to take them with me somewhere I have a junior circa binder with pockets so I can grab my cards and stuff them in the pockets. The pockets are labeled the same as my card box tabs.

* What do you need to track?
I track appointments, to-dos, contacts, the shopping list, and my password list. The to-dos are separated work vs home as mentioned above. Appointments I keep in my work calendar in Outlook and also Google Calendar for home stuff, and then I synch the two together with gsync. I also share my Google calendar with my husband. I keep a separate Google calendar for the kids' stuff, and I synch that stuff in too and share it also with my mom as well as my husband. I'm told Thunderbird also has a plugin for synching with Google Calendar. I use an app for my passwords that I can backup to my desktop as needed.

Anyway, your needs will obviously be different from mine. But the basic questions will help guide your thinking when it comes to setting up your own system. The point is not to adapt yourself to the system--the point is to adapt the system to yourself. You won't be happy with the system unless it suits you.

I thrashed through all sorts of formats, forms, methods.. I tried the Sidetracked Home Executives (loved it for most of a year and then something changed). I tried a little bit of Flylady (too fussy and cutesy). I tried Franklin back before Covey bought them. I tried Franklin Covey. I tried Julie Morgenstern's methods. I tried straight up 43 folders. I tried junior paper forms, quarter-letter forms, custom forms I made myself..things inspired by stuff I saw on the net. I realized after a while that I like setting up systems more than maintaining them. :) That is to say, I like making stuff more than planning to make stuff. So these days I try to be as minimal as possible. I don't rewrite stuff all the time. I don't print fancy forms. I don't print my appointments or my password list, though I probably should to make a non-techno-backup, at least of the passwords.

You will probably thrash several times. It's just the nature of the goal and the task.

I don't know that I've ever really felt like I had it all under control all the time. But mostly I get done what needs to be done.


wow thanks!

Im not sure why it's taking forever to post my responses? I thanked the other people who replied last weekend i think?

Wow Shris, I feel like you are in my brain, everything you say - its either what i do, or think or want to do lol! especially the part about having more fun making the system lol!

I will write more later, i want to be sure this posts first!

shopping list

I will write more when i have some time - but what shopping list android app do you use? i JUST got a new android phone!
~ Jennifer

ToMarket Lite

it's a freebie

shopping list

do you know what its called?
~ Jennifer

shopping list

sorry i meant the shopping list?
~ Jennifer


OurGroceries is the name of the android shopping app. You have to get an account on their web site in order to synch with others, but it's free.


shopping list

It's called "ToMarket Lite"