Introduction to the Getting Organized Experiment (GOE)
GOE: THE GREAT DONATIONCODER.COM 2006
GETTING ORGANIZED EXPERIMENT
- WEEK SEVEN -
Text and Assignment Written by DALLEEThe deadline for this assignment is October 24.
If you will recall, the objective of this three month project is to take a whirlwind tour of various Time Management systems and techniques, and find out which techniques work best for each of us. We start with the belief that there is no one single best system that for all people - but rather that different people respond best to different strategies.
It is your job, should you choose to participate in this experiment, to ensure that at the end of the 3 month period, you have formulated a system of habits and techniques that works for you, and transforms you into a more relaxed and more efficient person. By the end of this experiment, you *will* have a working system in place, either by adopting one of the existing frameworks completely, or by creating your own hybrid set of strategies based on what you learn from existing systems. That is the commitment we want you to make to yourself. There is no room for excuses about "this system is a gimmick and it didn't work for me!" - because if it doesn't work it's YOUR responsibility to invent a system that does.
Week SEVEN Assignment: Learn About the Techniques of FlyLadyText and assignment written by DALLEENOTE: This week’s assignments appear at the end of this post.
As you develop lists of next actions and goals for someday or what you will do tomorrow, do you have thoughts of getting yourself, your health or your home in better shape? Or, equally significant, do you think only about work and ignore quality of life issues?
We now introduce a world class expert on the subject of “getting everyday things better”: FlyLady a/k/a Marla Cillian.1. FlyLady’s Context
The strength and reach of FlyLady’s message is readily documented. Over 348,000 people have joined her daily e-mail reminder program (FlyLady Mentors
), there are almost 630 Yahoo groups devoted to FlyLady
, and her website www.flylady.net
– considering only web pages counted by Alexa
– daily is seen by an impressive number of people. There is a smaller affiliated website devoted to men called www.HeyTom.net
and there are several Yahoo groups are devoted to men
, including two groups for gay men.
FlyLady’s subject covers no smaller territory than helping her audience better meet the basic human needs for safety, self-maintenance, security, and self-esteem, as well as a sense of belonging to a family or group. These are the root life issues identified in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
, and it is well accepted that self actualization and self transcendence can follow only after these basic human needs are addressed. As one expert
has said, “Any self-help plan that you create [must] take this hierarchy into account or it will be very likely to fail .... Only after your basic needs have been attended to will you have extra attention to give to [other self-improvement issues].”
These everyday areas of life are the foundation of your life. The oft quoted statement of Fr. Alfred D’Souza
captures this truth: "For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin –– real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid, then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." 2. Why the Name “FlyLady”?
As a fly fishing fan, Marla Cilley first used “FlyLady” on the internet as her “nom du web
.” Later, FLY began to stand for “Finally Loving Yourself,” which a fan survey produced as a summary of her philosophy that taking concrete life improvement efforts honors one’s self, family and community, and builds confidence and self-esteem.
“Flying” is the verb used by those describing the positive impact of FlyLady’s program and their increased sense of ease and comfort in everyday life.
Equally apt is a quote from 1993 Nobel Prize
winner creative writer Toni Morrison
, although FlyLady would never put it this way: “Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down.” 3. A Quick Summary of FlyLady’s Program
Karen Kohlhaas’ website, www.monologueaudition.com
, gives a description of the lessons learned from her FlyLady experience
. Karen is recognized theater director and acting coach, as well as the author of The Monologue Audition: A Practical Guide for Actors
(five stars at Amazon.com) and writer/producer of the Monologue Audition Video.
In her web article, “Why FlyLady is Great for Actors”, Karen reports that she signed up to receive daily emails at FlyLady Mentors, a Yahoo group. Summarizing here that report, Karen wrote:
I surely did need some tips about keeping my home and life more orderly, so I signed up for the free membership. I immediately began to receive many e:mails from Flylady.net per day (if you think this would put you off, keep reading), most of them reminders to do various things like put on my shoes, locate my laundry, and shine my sink (!). There was usually a daily essay from Flylady and several testimonials by Flylady members.
I was directing a show at the time, so at first I didn’t do any of the system consciously. As the introductory e:mail instructed, I just deleted the mails I couldn’t get to (the reminders mails are not even meant to be opened, you just read the subject line and then delete). I grew to look forward to the essays and testimonials because they were so positive and helped me to de-stress. It was often very moving to read about people transforming their home lives from absolute chaos to never-before-experienced peacefulness and order. A little of the Flylady frame of mind took over and for the first time EVER my apartment was quite orderly. I didn’t even feel it happening.
Flylady’s principles can work brilliantly for artists of all kinds because they are about handling unstructured time. Here are some:
- Have simple (SIMPLE!) morning and evening routines (to care for your home life, your body, your finances, your career) that you do every day
- Take BABYSTEPS in building routines. Read Flylady’s essays on the site about how important this is. When she was building her routines, she only took on one new thing a month so it would have time to become an automatic habit
- Break up tasks into 15-minute increments USING A TIMER. This works so incredibly well you won’t believe it . * * * * When the timer rings you MUST switch to something else. * * * * This is so powerful for stopping the tendency to burn out, or to get sucked into spending hours on things that don’t really matter. And it is REMARKABLE what can get done in 15 minutes. * * * *
- Take frequent breaks
- Declutter your life a bit at a time
- Get enough rest
- Be good to yourself and put yourself first so that you can be of some use to others and no whining allowed.
Underlying her brilliant system is Flylady’s [rejection of] Perfectionism.
Flylady short-circuits perfectionism with the routines (which get so automatic that you do them without thinking, and magically, you are set up for the next day); with awareness (her own personal essays often talk about the monster of perfectionism and how it is constantly trying to creep in and spoil our fun); and with the welcome and soothing phrases: you’re not behind, you can jump in where you are, and housework imperfectly done still blesses your family.
So if you’re interested in trying Flylady’s system for yourself, go to Flylady.net and try signing up (they make it easy to sign up or unsubscribe). The best thing about the system is that it is completely adaptable to any lifestyle whatsoever.
With some thought and experimentation you can custom-design routines to fit your own daily life and the pursuit of your career. Don’t be overwhelmed by the emails they are sent by someone who cares and who wants you to be peaceful, productive and happy.”
Karen has also written about the application of FlyLady’s principles to mastering a craft or profession
, comparing them to career tips from David Mamet and the work method of actor Anthony Hopkins. 4. The Mechanical and Attitudinal Basics of FlyLady
FlyLady’s program rests upon identifying, implementing and making habitual self selected routines of daily living. Routines are generally short, from a few seconds to 15 minutes. Use a timer and 15 minute chunks of time, to break any project down into a manageable time commitment.
Work on only one new routine at a time, think “babysteps” and dump perfectionism. Respect the thought that only “practice makes perfect” and acknowledge that you are a novice in relation to developing that routine. The Dreyfus Model of skill acquisition
underscores that, for a novice, following simple rules for action is the learning method of choice to achieve a successful outcome.
Start with something basic and “keep it super simple.” If you have a messy home, FlyLady suggests starting with a new routine of cleaning the kitchen sink every evening, which will give you something nice to look at in the morning – the very reason her book is entitled Sink Reflections
(Amazon gives 4.5 stars and has more than 270 user reviews). The same approach is taken to health and weight issues in Body Clutter: Love Your Body, Love Yourself
, which is not yet available on Amazon.com, but can be purchased at the FlyLady website. FlyLady’s philosophy about a clearly defined starting point is consistent with "The Art of The Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide For Anyone Starting Anything
" by Guy Kawasaki (alternatively, see the easily accessible and downloadable Kawasaki Manifesto
and workbook, or the Blue Flavored Blog
for a summary and Kawasaki links).
Track your progress in a “control journal” and use it on your newly launched habits, as well as the habits you already have in place. If you have any doubts about the need to track habits to keep them in place, consider that Benjamin Franklin monitored his 13 Virtues
daily from age 20 to at least age 79. Ben Franklin generally tracked one virtue a week, putting a dot in the relevant box for each non virtuous act. As an aside, one could suspect that FlyLady would not encourage following Franklin’s skipping attending to habits 12 weeks out of 13, but somewhere a wag humorously noted that Franklin might have found it handy to worry about the virtue of Chastity roughly only one week every three months. DYI Planner’s Hipster PDA
(under “miscellaneous”) have downloadable forms for Franklin’s 13 Virtues. Flylady’s instructions for assembling a comprehensive FlyLady Control Journal
appear on her website.
FlyLady also encourages you to schedule rewards for yourself for following your plan, which serves as positive reinforcement
of your self mastery efforts.
Planning and analysis are a part of the FlyLady system. The assignment takes into account that the lists you have developed probably include several GETB or “getting everyday life better” items. Take your list(s) and do the following:
- 1. Identify several “everyday life” issues you could address, referencing any lists you maintain.
- 2. Think about an action “babystep” on each (a “next action” in David Allen’s GTD terminology).
- 3. You might not need an actual action routine if better equipment or tools might resolve an issue. For example, a well-selected 7-day pill box could help you take medication consistently. Look for “work arounds” and simple solutions, treating yourself and your everyday life issues with the same respect and seriousness you might bring to finding the perfect, elegant software to solve a computer need.
- 4. You might not need to develop an actual action routine on an issue if monitoring might be the first best step. For example, if you are sedentary, get and wear a pedometer to track your daily activity level – and, without engaging in a “project” – you are likely to find yourself starting to walk more by drawing awareness to your activity level. If you are already on the start of a habit – such as daily meditation – note the days you take the desired action. If you wonder if you are getting enough sleep, you could start a sleep log.
- 5. Where you decide that you must develop an action routine, pick the most basic one, ponder it, decide on a desired routine, and commit to bringing that activity into your life by practicing it for 28 days and until it is an actual habitual routine. Only one at a time! Monitor implementation in your control journal, both during habit formation and thereafter.
- 6. Repeat step 5 on your next desired routine and any others thereafter, a process which is indefinitely because there is no “perfection” and some new issue will always arise.
- 7. Take a look at www.flylady.net and consider signing up for emails from FlyLady Mentors or another FlyLady related Yahoo group.
- 8. Post on this week’s thread what everyday issues you have decided to address and the actions you are taking.
If you find use in the FlyLady system for “Getting Everyday Things Better,” reflect on any suggestions you could make to help her extend her information to minority communities and groups outside the United States, and send any constructive thought to FlyLady@FlyLady.net
Because you are at the “babystep” stage, do not embark upon FlyLady’s system of weekly home maintenance steps which address one part of your home each week. That program is described on www.flylady.net
and many versions of that list are on the web, one of which appears at DYI Planner
. 6. Next Week
We will continue with FlyLady assignment next week and will post a DonationCoder interview of FlyLady and Karen Kohlhaas.
Post on this week’s thread any questions and requests for information you would like to see addressed in that interview.