Get things done

When we came back from Yosemite, recharged from a good break, we realized that we have so much shit to do around the house and we don’t seem to get anything done on the weekends. Week days are office work and then Tara. And weekends are house work – cooking/laundry/cleaning/groceries and Tara. So when and how do we make time to do stuff like – garage clean up, spring clean up, Goodwill rounds and general reorg of the house to make space for Tara’s stuff and also discard Tara’s clothes and stuff that is no longer being used. So you see the point – there are chores and then there are CHORES. And we were not hitting the mark with our CHORES.

I need to be a super organized person in order to do what I do to earn my paycheck. That level of organization is usually not required at home. But things were getting out of hand. So when I got this sinking feeling that I wasn’t getting anything done, I came up with this new scrum + checklist methodology.

Here is what you need to make it work – post it notes and a marker.

What did I do ?

So one fine morning, I went around the house with post its and a marker, labelling whatever around the house needed to be done.  I came up with an arbit number of 15. When I hit 15 labels. I stopped. There is only so much one can commit to. Next, for each label, we came up with an owner. I have 11 and Agam has 4. His 4 include garage reorg which is as good as five of my smaller tasks. We mutually agreed on the ownership and timeline. (Oh the time line is quite arbit – between now and our next vacay. Basically a quarter away)

Next we picked up a leaderboard area – in this case our patio glass door, and made a victory box with some colored tape. As we complete our tasks, we bring back our post it notes to the leaderboard and stick them in the victory box.

Now as we go along, we will come up more tasks that catch our attention. Those tasks are not committed and are under the line. Under the line items are just put up on the leaderboard. If you want to swap an under the line item with an existing committed item, you are allowed to do so. As long as your total committed (including completed) tasks don’t exceed 15. Idea is to accomplish 15 tasks in the timeline that has been set.

Since there is not strict timeline, and no scope creep possibilities, we seem to be doing well in getting our CHORES done.

I love instant gratification. And when I bring my sticky note and put it on that victory box, I feel accomplished. And Agam has been feeling the pressure to make sure his contribution is also being reflected on the victory box, so he makes time to work his tasks too.

Net Net – I brought some principles from work to my home organization and I think we are making good progress in implementing them.

Now this is really is Silicon Valley and I could very well make a methodology out of this and start with some corporate workshops on how to get things done. But you know me. Lazy as I am, I am going to let this float and just be happy that I saved my sinking boat.


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