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Simplified-GTD: How to Get Things Done in 4 Easy Steps

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

How to Get Things Done - Simplified-GTDTell me if you’ve ever been in a situation like this -

It’s been a long day. You stop for a moment to catch your breath.

But instead of relaxing, you notice how messy your home is and it starts to niggle at you. “Clean the house” has been on your To-Do list for far longer than you care to admit.

Before you can even decide when/how to tackle the mess though, your child calls you for homework help. “Homework help” isn’t exactly on the To-Do list, but hey, you couldn’t possibly ignore that!

As you walk up to his desk, you suddenly remember that you forgot to pick up milk on your way home. “Pick up milk” was something you meant to add to your To-Do list, but never actually got around to.

When you pull your phone out to send a quick reminder to your spouse to grab the milk, you realize there’s a new mail (or facebook update) notification. “Check mail/facebook” is something definitely NOT on your To-Do list, but you obsessively do it anyway.

While trying to decide whether to send the reminder or check your mail/facebook first, you notice that the battery on the phone is almost out. Forget all that banter about the To-Do list… you need to find a charger. Fast.

Sounds familiar?

You’re not alone.

Millions around the world are casualties of the spinning-the-wheels-itis epidemic. The biggest symptom of this nasty pandemic is staying busy and stressed all the time, without actually getting much done.

As someone recovering from this scourge myself, I have some good news for you… there is a cure.

Unless you are in the terminal stages, usually you can find some quick relief and keep from ever falling victim to this endemic again by following a few simple steps. Inspired by the popular book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and simplified to fit busy lifestyles, these steps are aimed at creating habits that help tackle everything life slings at us, and actually get most of what matters done.

(P.S.: If you are in the terminal stages though, you should grab a copy of the book and spend some time implementing each suggestion diligently. It’s some seriously good stuff!)

OK, here we go -  [Read More...]

Creating a Wonderful New Reality Out of Pain and Anguish: The Inspiring Story of Suzanne Rico

(This article is a part of our series on Inspiring Stories and is a gracious contribution by Suzanne Rico from Please contact me if you have a great story to share with our fine parents community!)

When the wind blows from the east in the town where I live in Southern Spain—called a Levante—and the tide from the Bay of Cadiz pushes back up the Rio Guadalete, the strong smell of sewer wafts from our bathroom’s ancient pipes. Since this is a windy area and our apartment is small, I bark at my children if they leave the door ajar and then feel guilty about my bad mood; they have done a better job at adjusting to living in a place that smells like crap than I have.

Suzanne Rico with Her MomWe moved to Spain last summer after my mom died from cancer. It was an impulsive decision, spurred by a grief so great I felt I had no choice but to try to outrun it. My husband understood that the memories in every corner of our house in Los Angeles–where we had brought my mom to live when she got sick–were salt on an open wound and went along willingly. But our two boys, who were five and seven years old at the time, didn’t have a choice.

We moved from our large, comfortable suburban home into a faded but still grand Spanish palacio in the middle of an old port town famous for being the place where Christopher Columbus once sailed for the Americas. My sister Stephanie had moved there two years earlier with her two pre-teen daughters and husband, a surgeon for the U.S. Navy, and had managed to secure for use the last bit of space in her building—a small, charming cluster of rooms with no kitchen and only a half bath. [Read More...]

What To Do When Your Child Lies

[This article is a part of our Wisdom From the Trenches series]

Have your kids ever looked you straight in the eye and lied?

Lately, my daughter has started doing that. Try as I might to not overreact, it still brings out all kinds of negative emotions in me.

What to do when your child lies

A sense of betrayalHow could she lie to me?

Insecurities… What am I doing wrong that she feels the need to lie?

WorryWill she ever stop lying? Will we ever have a trusting relationship?

FearWhat if she gets in real trouble someday and lies to me about it and I can’t help her?

And on and on my mind races.

I spoke to a few friends about this, and quickly a couple of things became very clear –
[Read More...]

Why We Give Up, And 3 Simple Tricks to Change Behavior (Backed by Science)

Have you ever gotten totally pumped about changing some behavior, got started with a lot of enthusiasm and then pffffffffft… the whole thing just quietly fizzled out?

How to Change BehaviorMaybe it was a health/fitness goal.

Maybe it was a career objective.

Maybe it was the way you want to parent.

Whatever it was, it started with a bang, but like a balloon that is not knotted up tight enough, it slowly lost wind and went limp.

Well, you’re not alone. As it turns out, there’s a scientifically proven reason for why we give up. By becoming aware of it, we can trick ourselves into changing any behavior rather effortlessly.

But First, a Little Bit of the Back Story…

About 5 weeks back we started the Discipline Without Drama community challenge on this blog. It started with a bang. So many of you enthusiastically dived into it that my whole month’s video bandwidth was blown away in just 1 day and I had to scramble to keep streaming the videos uninterrupted!

As we progressed through the challenge though, I noticed the ‘balloon losing wind’ effect.

It gave me an eerie feeling of New Years Day in June… research shows that 88% of the New Year’s Resolutions end in failure.

I started digging into psychology studies to understand what causes us to give up even though we really want to change something. Why do we dive into something with so much enthusiasm, only to abandon it in a few days? (I have a few other reasons to be so interested in this question, but that’s a whole other blog post… ;) )

What I found out is very intriguing. At the core of all failed attempts to change behavior is [Read More...]