todoist

How to GTD when you have too much to do!

Having a thousand projects going at once, it’s so important to have a way to organize what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and understanding what needs to happen next.

So, the app called “todoist”… I’ve had it for a long time… and for the longest time, I just thought it was a glorified to do list app. But holy guacamole! It has been so useful on our house project-and I want to describe how we’ve been using it to stay on track, so that if anyone else out there is looking at their home remodel (or really, any other huge project) and feeling overwhelmed, you’ve got one more tool in your toolbox to be a badass.

First, I want to just chat about a few features I like, and then tell ya bout the simple meat and potatoes of how this is really powerful.

INBOX So first, there’s an “inbox” that is just literally a place where you get your list out of your head and on paper. Something just pop into your head that you know you need to do/look into/think about later/etc.? Just put it into your inbox. Have a one-off kind of project that doesn’t fit into your categories-just add it to your inbox. Boom, done!

JUST TYPE IT It’s set up to be intuitive. So if you type in “write a blog post every sunday”, it will put in a task “write a blog post” and then it will create a recurring task for every Sunday. You’re welcome to go in and click buttons to assign it to every Sunday, but it’s so much quicker to just write what you want! I’m not even sure how you’d click buttons for this one since the days of the week would change… I typed in today, “give Ella a bath every 3 days”. Boom. Added. So cool.

ALL THE OTHER LITTLE SHIT Yes, of course, it’s got where you can move tasks up and down, or mark items as higher priorities (actually 4 different priority levels), you can share it so multiple can work on it. You can even email your todoist a task and it’ll add it to the correct place for you.

HOW WE’RE USING IT TO ORGANIZE THE HOUSE REMODEL Okay, we’re here. Right near the end. Most of the house is… pretty functional. But the devil is in the detail. So we have our projects around the house under one project in todoist: “Our Dream House”. Under that, we’ve got a board for each room. The boards go in order of what rooms I want done from first to last. Then, the tasks on each board go in order of what I want us to get done from first to last.

I color code them with the priority levels. You can make the bullet/check box turn from no color, to red, yellow, or blue. I use red for tasks we have everything to be able to get done. I use blue for tasks we need to order something to get that task done.

Then, everyday when we are making our plan for the day, we start on the first board, do the first task; if we can’t do that task for whatever reason, we do what we need to do to make sure we will be able to do it ASAP. Then we move down the list and do whatever we can that isn’t contingent on a task above it. Then move on to the next board and continue the same process.

This takes so much of the stress and decision making out of the day-to-day decisions on where the fuck to just start!

What It’s Like to Live with Strangers.

By special request, I’m writing about what it’s like to live with strangers.

For those of you who don’t know, I run an AirBnB out of my house…

That I also live in!

The usual response I get when I tell people about my living situation is something to the effect of “Woah! I don’t think I could do that!” And then the person I’m talking with will explain that they want to feel comfortable in their own home, etc.

I totally understand that. Who doesn’t want to feel comfortable in their own home? The best way I can explain it is using a concept that Craig Curelop, a house-hacker featured on BiggerPockets describes as the “Comfort Continuum.” How uncomfortable are you okay with being?

I am comfortable having strangers in my house, if it pays me to do so. The idea of having no housing expenses and generating a small cash flow is my personal entryway into obtaining financial freedom.

That being said… What’s it like to live with strangers?

Well, it’s weird. (Haha) Working on the low-end of AirBnB (and renting to tenants by the room), I am hosting very different people for very different reasons. I have had immigrants, workers, travelers, honeymooners, students, road-trippers, relocators, partiers, RVers, visitors, interns, and even a CEO stay at my house.

With that, I have met some excellent folks who have impacted my life in a positive way. I have gotten the opportunity to see life from so many people’s perspective as I watch guests/tenants’ lives unfold before them.

In quite a few instances, I have hosted immigrants coming to America. Their stay at my house was their first time in our country. Pause for a second and really take in how important that is. Their experience in my home represents to them what America is like. I want every guest to feel welcome and at home-but I want the welcome to be especially warm for those guests.

In a few instances, I have had young couples who were “between apartments.” Looking outside, their cars are filled with everything they own. I don’t think there are a lot of things worse than not knowing where you’re going to put your head at night. So providing a home and a bed that’s clean and welcoming can provide a thin layer of relief to those who only have stress in every other aspect of their life.

Now, that being said, I no doubt have plenty of people looking for a place to sleep after a night of boozing. I have had plenty of people illustrate their hangover in my bathroom. I have had plenty of people slamming the door at 1am. I have had a few items go missing. I have not liked every guest-and some of those guests have had extended stays.

Getting away from the bigger picture and focusing on the day-to-day… to answer the original question, What’s it like to live with strangers?

It’s not a big deal. Really, you have to clean the common areas more (which is probably a positive thing?). You have to keep the bathroom cleaner (not fun, but probably also a good thing?). You don’t have the freedom to walk around your house naked anymore (but I’ll take my cash instead). Sometimes you don’t want to be around people and people are always around you (but that’s the same as if you live with family, friends, etc.). Sometimes people park in your spot and you have to park on the street instead of in the driveway (oh boo-hoo).

So, all things considered, living with strangers is a great option for those willing to be less comfortable than they could be otherwise.

The Grind.

Wow! My investment properties are finally starting to MAKE MONEY!

For the month of January, my partner and I will have made a profit of about $1,250! ($625 each!)

Now the best part…

I have no bills.

You read that right- the profit I said I made… that included all expenses related to both houses. The mortgages are paid, the utilities, and heck!- even the internet.

Now what does it take to really do this?

  • Every single day, at least one of us has to make beds and clean toilets (not-so-glamorous)
  • You have to be flexible with being able to answer messages from guests and tenants quickly
  • The occasional issue needs addressed immediately (for instance, a guest tripped a circuit breaker and we had to run to another house to fix)
  • We have five laundry hampers for the insane amount of sheets and comforters that we go through each week
  • And most importantly to me… it’s hard to do something fun spontaneously that is more than a day long-as you have to have a plan for the rooms to be flipped.

So, day-in and day-out, you’ll focus on the grind. You’ll focus on who’s responsible for what room and you’ll focus on how you’ll fit these extra tasks into your already busy schedule. But at the end of the month when your bills are paid and you’re getting an extra paycheck- you’ll be glad you spent the time getting ahead.