Buying a Car using GTD

Buying a car is an interesting process but one where GTD can be a very useful framework.  Buying a car is definitely a project where it's critical to utilize the five step method for project planning, defining purpose, envisioning outcome, brainstorming, organizing and finally identifying the next action.

In defining the purpose and principles it's a good time to ask why you are embarking on this journey.   Is it because the old car is shot and repair costs are getting to be too much?  Does the old car not meet your needs anymore?  Owning a car is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make so understanding your needs is critical.  It's helpful at this time to list the reasons or purpose for buying a car.   
Depending on the car you choose and how long you keep it, you can spend a great deal of money without realizing it.  Due to the great depreciation costs buying a car is not an investment.  Most new cars can lose over half their value in the first 3 years.  It pays to go into this process fully aware of the costs involved.  In addition to depreciation, taxes, title, inspection, insurance and license can be very expensive running thousands of dollars depending on the car you choose.   At this time it's helpful to list some key principles to guide you through this process.  What is most important, reliability, luxury, roominess, sportiness, safety or value?   It could be helpful to list these in order of priority.  If you have a spouse or other that will share the car consider getting them to list these as well.  Where do you see differences?   Where are you aligned?   It could be very helpful to discuss these differences and consider how to compromise.  These factors will be the principles for the car you choose and will determine the expense you will have to live with when all is aid and done. 
It has been said that the cheapest car is the one you already have.  Because of the massive media and materialism attached to the cars we drive, we often drive cars for reasons we have trouble explaining.  Why are you buying a car, status or real need?  If deep down, you reason is status, you may want to consider that driving a flashy car will not change who you are.   However, that is a different topic for another post.  At this point one of your key principles is your budget.  How much do you have for a down payment?  Will you finance the car?  How much of a monthly payment can you afford?  What kind of interest rate can you qualify for?
Now that you have determined your key purpose and and clarified your principles you now have a guide for the long journey ahead.  The purpose you have outlined will be revisited over and over as you venture through this arduous process.  You'll wonder if it's worth the trouble and understanding the why is very helpful. The principles will be a great help in planning for successful outcome.  Which is the topic if our next post. 

Use the 5S's to streamline your home processes

What is 5S?  5S is a simple methodology that has been used in many companies around the world.  In these companies it serves as the foundation to drive quality into every process.  Imagine if you could utilize this methodology in your home to improve your life and make things run smoother.  It improves the way you GTD at Home.
This simple yet powerful methodology was created by a pioneer in the modern quality movement named Hiroyuki Hirano. The five "Ss" are five Japanese words—seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.  The origin of 5S is rooted in the work of Frederick W. Taylor and Henry Ford.  Their methodology was the CANDO program (Cleaning up, Arranging, Neatness, Discipline, Ongoing Improvement), an obvious predecessor to the 5S system.  However the 5S system has been utilized much more and popularized to great use across industries throughout the world.  Before proceeding you'll want to select a focused location to target your efforts. Consider a room in your house, or the garage, deck, etc.
The first S is called SORT.  Sort out what is needed and unneeded.  Get rid of what's not needed.  This is a critical point in the process requiring great discipline.  You must really decide what you NEED.  In a corporate environment there is less at stake and it's easier to part with unused items, but at home we become fond with trivial items.  The motto of "when in doubt, throw it out" is the rule in this stage.  If you are not sure, put it in the garage or basement and consider again in a month.  Another motto to use is "no pain, no gain".  It may be painful to part with some items, but you'll reap benefits in the long run.
The second S is called STORE.  Store whats left over.  This can be fun, as you can really see that you have more room.  It's liberating, but make sure you do it properly.  Consider the frequency of use as you select the location for each item.  Obviously the least frequently used items should be stored in location further away than items used daily.   This seems like a no brainer, but as you begin to rearrange the items in your home according to this principle, you'll find that you can find what you need faster and GTD easier.  This is a great time to consider storage systems.  Many stores carry systems that will make finding and using things easier.  Consider IKEA or Target as they both have these systems.  Beware of buying systems that will collect more stuff as this is not your objective.
The third S is called Shine.  This means to make "like new".  In this phase you want to clean, refurbish and update any areas where you see it's necessary.  At this point make a task list of areas that need attention.  Give yourself a few hours to begin working on these items.  As in the GTD system, if anything on the list will require a lengthy separate project, put it aside to work on at another time.   Then you need to do top-to-bottom cleaning.  You should see some real impact on the area at this time, but don't stop now.
The fourth S is called Standardize.  You now need to make it work on a day to day basis.  Make storage locations obvious to everyone who shares the space.  Make it fool proof.   Set a schedule to follow up to maintain the work that you've completed.
The last S is Sustain.  This just means that you'll need to review on a regular basis and complete the first 4 S's again.  Keep Sorting, keep Storing, keep Shining, and keep Standarizing.
As you can see, the 5S system is very simple and easy to use and will help you GTD at Home.
As you read and utilize this system, please leave comments so we can hear your best practices.