Here’s where we answer our readers’ questions. Please don’t blame us if our suggestions don’t work for you; you’re the one taking advice from a donkey.
Getting Things Done (GTD) – Get Unstuck
Dear Donkey and Wife: I am lucky because my wife doesn’t have a honey do list for me but she has wanted me to fix our couch for some time now. I don’t care that it dips when you sit in it but i don’t want to hear about it anymore. I don’t know how to fix the couch and don’t want to know. What can I do?- Barely a man
He says: GTD all the way!
I am restraining myself because I really want to delve into how you can pawn this off to her or how you can make her feel guilty about projects she hasn’t completed, but i won’t. My advice is always excellent, but today I will give advice that female readers will enjoy too. Plus, I receive questions like this regularly.
I train a class designed to increase productivity based on the book Getting Things Done. I have been using this system for a couple of years now and have been a certified trainer for a year-and-a-half, but i have never fully implemented it at home. This is most likely because I do not want to do the projects assigned by my wife. However, I recently had a very good experience that highlights one of the principles in the training that will help you with this problem.
Our toilet has been broken since we purchased the house four years ago. Every time my wife sits on it, it wobbles back and forth. About six months ago we noticed that the bathroom started to smell pretty bad. We diagnosed it to the fact that the toilet wobbled something loose. I was faced with three options: 1) wait until my wife lost enough weight that the toilet no longer wobbled under the strain, 2) wait for my wife to give up on me and live with the wobbling, 3) fix the toilet. I chose option 2 even though my wife has done an excellent job losing over 30 pounds this year (she still has a good 15 pounds to go).
I was preparing to train this productivity class a month ago and thought about projects that were stuck on my list. The toilet project was at the forefront of my mind. The author of the book explains that one of the reasons we procrastinate things is because we have not determined the next action. We have a project like “Fix couch” on our list, but we do not really know how to begin. What is the first thing we need to do to get this project moving? I realized that this was my problem with the toilet.
I am one of the most useless husbands when it comes to fixing things, but I know lots of people who are very handy. I realized that my next action was to ask someone what to do to fix the toilet. That seemed easy. I called a guy I know and explained the situation. He told me that I needed the largest wax ring I could find that included hardware. I also needed caulking. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I completed the next action: ask someone what to do. At this point I could have decided to call a handy man to fix the problem, but my friend convinced me that I could do it with his help. I asked him what my next action was and he told me to go to Home Depot and buy the supplies. So I wrote that down on my list.
My wife was very excited when I told her what I had accomplished and she realized that I was making progress. A week later I was doing errands and saw the next action for the toilet and decided to stop by Home Depot. I confirmed the list of supplies with the saleswoman (sad, I had to ask a 20 year old girl) and she showed me what to get. Look at that! Another next action completed: buy supplies. To cut this story short, I eventually invited my friend over and we fixed the toilet. My wife was amazed that this project was finally completed. I realized that it was not really a big deal, but I never identified the next action so it was stuck on my list causing grief for me.
So, you have 3 options: 1) tell your wife to lose weight so she will stop crashing through the couch, 2) ignore it and continue to get sucked into the couch, 3) figure out what it will take to fix the couch. I have no idea how to fix the couch, but I am sure you know someone who can advise you. Your outcome might be to buy a new couch. Who knows? You won’t until you identify the next action and complete it. Feel free to visit the GTD web site for more info.
That’s it for our suggestions… Any other ideas?
(Do you need advice from The Donkey and The Wife? Contact us and ask away)